Players - Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso
Birthdate: 25 November 1981
Birthplace: Tolosa, Spain
Other clubs: Real Sociedad (1998-2004), Eibar (loan 2000-01), Real Madrid (2009-14), Bayern Munich (2014-17)
Bought from: Real Sociedad
Signed for LFC: £10.7m, 20.08.2004
International debut: 30.04.2003 vs. Equador
International caps: 114/16 (49/5 at LFC) - 23.06.2014
Liverpool debut: 29.08.2004
Last appearance: 24.05.2009
Debut goal: 16.10.2004
Last goal: 25.04.2009
Contract expiry: 05.08.2009
Win ratio: 58.1% W:122 D:45 L:43
Games/assists ratio: 11.67
Honours: Champions League 2005, European Super Cup 2005, FA Cup 2006
League games / goals / assists: 143 / 15 / 16
Total games / goals / assists: 210 / 19 / 18

Player Profile

Xabier Alonso Olano made his debut for Real Sociedad against Logrones on 1 December 1999 in Copa del Rey. He made 14 further appearances that season but was then loaned out to second division Eibar. Sociedad were, however, struggling in the Primera Liga and new manager and former Liverpool great, John Toshack, recalled Alonso from his loan and in a shock move made the 19-year-old captain of the side. The team cemented their position in La Liga the following year and blossomed in the 2002/03 season, finishing two points behind champions Real Madrid. The respected football magazine ‘Don Balon’ chose Alonso Spanish Player of the Year. Alonso made his international debut against Equador on 30 April 2003 and featured against Russia and Portugal in Euro 2004, but Spain failed to get out of the group stages. Sociedad qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League, but got knocked out by Lyon and struggled in the league, finishing fifteenth. Rafa had seen enough of Xabi to convince him of the qualities he could bring to Liverpool: strong in defence and going forward and possessed an excellent passing range. If there ever was a player moulded in the Liverpool way, it was Alonso as he was comfortable in possession with the vision to spot passes and the ability to execute them. He was also a tough customer and maybe Rafa didn’t expect that he would boast one of the best rates of successful tackles in the Premiership.

Alonso made an instant impression at Liverpool, but suffered a broken ankle in the 2005 New Years’ Day clash against Chelsea and the difference in the team’s performance was noticeable. Alonso returned to the side three months later just in time to feature in the second leg of the quarter-final clash with Juventus in the Champions League when Liverpool drew 0-0 in Turin after beating them 2-1 at Anfield. Reds were concerned when he was banned for the second leg of the semi-final against Chelsea at Anfield after Gudjohnsen got him yellow-carded at Stamford Bridge. Fortunately, his absence didn’t prevent Liverpool from reaching the final where he scored the equalising goal against Milan, pouncing on the rebound after seeing his penalty saved. Alonso was incredibly a European champion in his debut season at Liverpool. Alonso’s speciality became his extra-long-range strikes, scoring twice from inside his own half. His first effort was from 65 yards in the 5-3 FA Cup win over Luton in January 2006. In the 2005/06 season, Alonso looked forward to an FA Cup final against West Ham. Unfortunately, he picked up an ankle injury in the last League game of the season but convinced Rafa and the medical team that he was ready for the final. Alonso managed 67 minutes before he was taken off at the Millennium Stadium where Gerrard-inspired Liverpool went on to win a winners’ medal for him after conquering the Hammers in a penalty shoot-out. Alonso repeated this incredible feat of scoring from his own half, against Newcastle in September 2006 in a League game at Anfield. This time the distance was 70 yards and Steve Harper tried desperately to reach the shot but to no avail. The Independent described it as “one of the most audacious goals in Anfield’s rich 115-year history.” Despite this wonder goal Alonso seemed to have lost his way a bit. His usually sublime passes were quite wayward and he didn’t contribute as he did before. Rafa kept faith with him in the 2006/07 season that ended disappointingly in Athens where Alonso featured in the 2-1 loss to Milan in the Champions League final.

The Basque played in fewer first-team competitive matches during his fourth season at Anfield than the season previous, just 27 out of a possible 59. He was picked from the start in the opening five League games and scored twice as promoted Derby County were thrashed 6-0 at Anfield on the first day of September. He was substituted due to a slight injury against Portsmouth in the middle of September and was out for six weeks. Alonso was rushed to action to face Arsenal on 28 October 2007 but limped off and missed seven weeks more. Rafa struggled to find a suitable midfield combination in his absence rotating between Sissoko, Mascherano and Lucas to partner Gerrard. When Alonso returned Benítez accommodated him alongside the respective holding midfielder by moving Gerrard further forward as a second striker behind Fernando Torres. Alonso played 163 minutes in Spain’s successful Euro 2008 tournament and came on as a substitute in the sixty-third minute in the final against Germany. After the tournament speculation was rife that Alonso would be moving on from Liverpool with Gareth Barry the man expected to take his place. In the end, Barry’s transfer from Aston Villa never happened and Alonso went on to have perhaps his best season as a Liverpool player, making 47 first-team appearances and scoring five times, including the goal that ended Chelsea’s record-breaking unbeaten home run in the League. His tenacity was back, prompting his opponents to foul him on a constant basis, which resulted in six sending-offs for fouls made on him! Benítez’s willingness to sell him on a year previously lingered and soured their relationship. Real Madrid were monitoring the situation and Alonso wanted to return home to Spain. Liverpool agreed to sell the midfielder to Madrid for a fee that was believed to be around £30 million, certainly, a significant profit on the £10.7 million Liverpool paid Real Sociedad for Alonso’s services in 2004.

Alonso only missed four La Liga matches as Real finished runners-up to Barcelona and three points behind their Catalan rivals in his debut season. Alonso had a happy summer as he started every game as Spain won the World Cup after beating the Netherlands in the final. The 2010/11 season followed a similar pattern as the first, in that Alonso played in 34 of the 38 league matches as Madrid again finished runners-up to Barcelona. Real did, however, win a stormy Copa del Rey final by beating their Catalan rivals 1-0 at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium. Alonso was Jose Mourinho’s playmaker extraordinaire in the 2011/12 campaign when Real finally managed to wrestle the Spanish championship away from Barcelona, who had held it for the previous three years.

In 2012/13 Alonso took his total of first-team appearances for Real Madrid close to the two hundred mark. But the defending Spanish champions were unable to retain their title. Alonso was a member of the Madrid team that knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League at Old Trafford at the Last 16 stage of the competition. But Borussia Dortmund ended Alonso's hope of a second winners' medal by narrowly defeating Real on aggregate in the semi-final. Alonso made 26 La Liga appearances in the 2013/14 season. Real Madrid ended the season in 3rd place behind their city rivals Atlético Madrid and Barcelona. Real and Atlético would also meet in the Champions League final but Xabi was suspended for that showpiece event having been cautioned in the second leg of the semi-final against Bayern Munich, but nevertheless enjoyed Real's great victory, his second Champions League success. In August 2014 Alonso signed for Bayern Munich after five successful years at Real, disclosing that he rejected advances from Premier League clubs as he wanted to protect his Liverpool legacy: "I had five great years at Liverpool and I would rather just keep that memory as it is." He played 26 times as Bayern won the Bundesliga title and also broke the record for the most passes in a Bundesliga game, racking up 196 in a game against Cologne in September 2014. The following season he was a Bundesliga winner again, starting 23 times and in December 2015 signed a contract extension until the summer of 2017. When January 2017 arrived and Alonso became able to sign a pre-contract with another club, he put an end to any speculation by stating that he would be retiring from playing at the end of the season. He did so after having added another Bundesliga title and German Cup to his glittering array of medals.

In 2018 Alonso completed his UEFA Elite coaching licence and returned to Real Madrid to take on a coaching role at one of the club's youth sides. He continued his progression in July 2019 when he became coach of Real Sociedad's B side Sanse, competing in Segunda B, the regionalised third tier of Spanish football. In his second season there he gained promotion to the Segunda Division, the first time they had payed at that level since 1962.
Appearances per season
Please note

The Premier League's "Dubious Goals Panel" decided that the deflection of Alonso's shot in the Chelsea - Liverpool game on 26.10.2008 was sufficient for the goal to be shown as an own-goal by Chelsea defender Bosingwa. However Liverpool Football Club's stance is that Alonso's goal remains with the Liverpool player.

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 143 12 4 48 3 210
2004-2005 24 0 0 8 0 32
2005-2006 35 5 0 11 2 53
2006-2007 32 1 2 15 1 51
2007-2008 19 3 1 4 0 27
2008-2009 33 3 1 10 0 47
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
Apps Minutes Opponent
20 1590 Chelsea
13 1050 Arsenal
10 848 Everton
9 727 Aston Villa
9 613 Portsmouth
8 715 Blackburn Rovers
8 655 Bolton Wanderers
8 655 Middlesbrough
8 576 Tottenham
7 610 Manchester United
7 607 West Ham United
7 485 Newcastle United
7 448 Fulham
6 517 Wigan Athletic
6 283 WBA
5 404 Sunderland
5 351 Birmingham City
5 316 Charlton Athletic
5 302 PSV Eindhoven
4 227 Manchester City
3 253 Luton Town
2 210 Standard Liege
2 210 AC Milan
2 180 Olympiacos
2 180 Maccabi Haifa
2 180 Reading
2 180 Watford
2 180 Barcelona
2 180 Benfica
2 180 Anderlecht
2 180 Derby
2 180 Hull City
2 174 Galatasaray
2 165 Atletico Madrid
2 158 TNS
2 150 Real Madrid
2 147 Bordeaux
2 90 Deportivo
1 90 FBK Kaunas
1 90 Sao Paolo
1 90 Marseille
1 90 Real Betis
1 90 Stoke City
1 90 Southampton
1 90 Juventus
1 90 Crystal Palace
1 90 AS Monaco
1 90 Barnsley
1 79 Deportivo Sap.
1 71 CSKA Moscow
1 65 Norwich City
1 64 CSKA Sofia
1 46 Preston North End
1 16 Sheffield United
Total Started/substitutions
181 Started
15 On the bench
29 Substitute
33 Substituted
Total Venue
102 Home
100 Away
8 Neutral
Total Competition
143 Premier League
47 Champions League
12 FA Cup
4 League Cup
2 World Club Championship
1 Community Shield
1 European Super Cup
Total W D L Win % Manager
210 122 45 43 58.1% Rafa Benítez
Goals per season
Please note

The Premier League's "Dubious Goals Panel" decided that the deflection of Alonso's shot in the Chelsea - Liverpool game on 26.10.2008 was sufficient for the goal to be shown as an own-goal by Chelsea defender Bosingwa. However Liverpool Football Club's stance is that Alonso's goal remains with the Liverpool player.

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 15 2 0 2 0 19
2004-2005 2 0 0 1 0 3
2005-2006 3 2 0 0 0 5
2006-2007 4 0 0 0 0 4
2007-2008 2 0 0 0 0 2
2008-2009 4 0 0 1 0 5
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
Assists per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 16 0 0 2 0 18
2004-2005 4 0 0 0 0 4
2005-2006 7 0 0 0 0 7
2006-2007 1 0 0 1 0 2
2007-2008 1 0 0 0 0 1
2008-2009 3 0 0 1 0 4
A more detailed look at the player's assists
Milestone Appearances
# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 29.08.2004 Bolton Wanderers Reebok Stadium League
50 01.11.2005 Anderlecht Anfield Europe
100 28.10.2006 Aston Villa Anfield League
150 16.02.2008 Barnsley Anfield FA Cup
200 10.03.2009 Real Madrid Anfield Europe
Milestone Goals
# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 79 16.10.2004 Fulham Craven Cottage League
Related Articles
Alonso sends touching tribute to retiring Arbeloa

June 25, 2017 on


We are pleased to welcome columnist Declan Sloan aboard at He takes a look at important penalties for Liverpool throughout the years.

Xabi Alonso is key to imposing style that lets Real Madrid stars shine

Sid Lowe in the Guardian 28 August 2009.

Adios Alonso by Paul Tomkins is excited to be publishing Paul Tomkins' blogs from now on. He's the best columnist there is on all matters concerning Liverpool FC and has written quite a number of books on the club.

Rafael Benítez rewarded with £30m as Xabi Alonso seals Madrid move

Xabi Alonso successfully pressured Madrid into forcing through the deal by handing in a formal transfer request.

Xabi Alonso chats with Jan Molby

From Guillem on 31st March 2009.

Interview with Xabi Alonso from AS

With thanks to "AnotherSpanishFan" here's an interview from Spanish newspaper AS translated. Originally published on This is Anfield.

Family values leave Basque brothers feeling at home

An interview by Guillem Balague with Mikel and Xabi Alonso on 8 October 2007.

You'll never get past Sissoko! - comparison with Alonso

Statistically it is difficult to measure the worth of midfielders as clean sheets and goals are not the fairest measure of a working midfielder who wins the ball and distributes it to team mates.

A glorious effort!

Match report from Liverpool - Newcastle on 20.09.2006 by Dominic Fifield for The Guardian.

Echoes of another epic as Liverpool forced to treat Luton like Milan

The Guardian on Luton - Liverpool.

Punter wins 25,000 pounds on Alonso's goal

An article from Daily Mail.

Club class

Liverpool enter the Fifa Club World Championship with Xabi Alonso keen to make his mark. By Jonathan Northcroft at Sunday Times 11th December 2005.

Clever Xabi sets the pass mark

Guillem Balague's article about Xabi Alonso on Sunday May 22, 2005 in The Observer.

Related Quotes

"I've never seen anyone pass the ball as well as Xabi. It's like watching another version of Stevie Gerrard. He is a great, great player. It's amazing he's only 22-years-old. He may have cost £10m but he looks worth every penny of that."

Riise in September 2004

"The more I watch Benítez’ £10m investment, Xabi Alonso, the more I marvel. Why am I surprised that such a young man, who studies the game so intently, should be improving while still four years from the start of his prime? I shouldn't. He is getting stronger, reads the game superbly, passes sublimely, and tackles assuredly and bravely."

Paul Tomkins in his column on in the 2005-2006 season

"There was a real suspense surrounding my penalty - it was like something out of a Hitchcock movie!"

Xabi Alonso on the penalty he missed to bring Liverpool level, only to net the rebound in Istanbul

"I don't remember a former youth team player causing such an impact at the club. Everyone seems to play better when he is on the pitch and there is no doubt that he is going to be a very important player for Real Sociedad."

John Toshack was Real Sociedad's coach when Alonso made his Sociedad debut

The sale of Arbeloa, Hyypia and Alonso was an important loss. Alvaro was a player who did a vital job for us, always played to a high level and his flexibility was a huge bonus. Sami may not have played every week but he was a 10 out of 10 on and off the pitch, bringing calm to the ground and having everyone's admiration. And Xabi … players like Xabi are very rare. He was the team's engine and you know that when you change an engine, it takes time to work again.

Torres on Liverpool's downfall in the 2009-2010 season

I am still a Liverpool fan and will be forever, absolutely. The things that I have lived and the experiences I had during those five years are deep in my heart and the passion and respect I had for the club and its supporters are still the same. Hopefully I can transmit to my son what Liverpool Football Club means and how special it is, as he was born in the city.

Xabi Alonso in The Times in 2011

Other Clubs
Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Real Sociedad 1999-2000 Spain 1 5 0 6 0
Eibar 2000-2001 Spain 2 14 0 14 0
Real Sociedad 2000-2001 Spain 1 18 0 18 0
Real Sociedad 2001-2002 Spain 1 29 3 29 3
Real Sociedad 2002-2003 Spain 1 33 3 34 3
Real Sociedad 2003-2004 Spain 1 34 3 42 4
Real Madrid 2009-2010 Spain 1 34 3 41 3
Real Madrid 2010-2011 Spain 1 34 0 52 1
Real Madrid 2011-2012 Spain 1 36 1 52 2
Real Madrid 2012-2013 Spain 1 0 0 0 0
Real Madrid 2013-2014 Spain 1 26 0 42 0
Bayern Munich 2014-2015 Germany 1 26 2 40 4
Bayern Munich 2015-2016 Germany 1 26 0 39 2
Bayern Munich 2016-2017 Germany 1 27 3 38 3
Total 342 18 447 25