Yesterday, Bayern Munich midfielder announced his retirement from football and Alex Rogers is here to explain why he is a Liverpool legend.
Xabi Alonso. A player loved the world over, not just by Liverpool fans, but from supporters from every club in the world. He’s a player that you simply cannot hate because of his permanent class, on and off the pitch. Find me one person that dislikes Xabi and I’ll be genuinely surprised.
But on the 9th of March 2017, Xabi announced he would be retiring at the end of the season, causing heartbreak around the globe. But after an 18 year long senior career and being the ripe old age of 35 years old, not to mention the many prestigious honours he’s won over the years, it’s a retirement well earned.
Ask any Liverpool fan to tell you their top five favourite Liverpool players of all time, more times than not Xabi will be on the list. Even now, for me personally and I’m sure this goes for many many other people, when I think of a passing master, the first person I think of, even before the likes of Pirlo and Xavi, is Xabi Alonso.
I can remember vividly as a child trying to replicate how Xabi plays in my garden with my friends. Even to this day, I’m annoying my friends whenever we had a kickabout by shooting from the halfway line and yelling “XABI!!!!” at the top of my lungs. This is how influential he has been to me and I’m sure the same can be said for countless others.
And the number of magical moments he has given us is uncountable! That goal against Newcastle? His penalty in the Champions League final? His goal against Chelsea to end their four year unbeaten home record? The list is endless.
One of the cruellest of injustices that this world has ever seen is Xabi Alonso’s Anfield career being cut short. His transfer to Real Madrid broke my heart. It was clear that he didn’t want to leave at that moment in time, with his contract set to expire in 2012 when he left in 2009. Differences with Rafa Benitez was the deciding factor in his departure and to this day, it can be seen as one of Rafa’s biggest mistakes.
I can write on and on about why Liverpool Football Club and its supporters will always have a special place in their hearts for Xabi Alonso, but I think Xabi sums it up perfectly himself when Steven Gerrard retired, sending him four short words that also can be said about him. “My Hero. My mate.” Happy retirement Xabi.