On the 9th of March, Xabi Alonso announced, via his various Social Media accounts, that he would be retiring from the game come the end of the season. It was long to be accepted in reality but still hit Liverpool fans very hard despite having left the club in 2009. The Spaniard was an influential player for the Reds, having gained a chant for being part of arguably Liverpool’s best ever midfield. “Xabi Alonso, Momo Sissoko, Gerrard and Mascherano”.
The Spaniard, for Liverpool fans, will be known for one of 3 goals. The Halfway Line goal vs Newcastle, the goal from his own half against Luton Town or the equaliser in Istanbul vs AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League Final. Sitting behind the midfield and just in front of the defence was the reason for 2 of those goals and it seems that is where he played the remainder of his career. A position that is usually disregarded by the modern day players, very few people have the patience and the eye to be able to dictate a game as well as Alonso did. Andrea Pirlo, Paul Scholes and Xavi seem to be the only ones that spring to mind.
It has been nearly 8 years since Alonso left Liverpool to his native Spain for a £30mil move to Real Madrid and one would assume that Liverpool would have replaced him by now. That has not happened and it was not due to a lack of trying. Gareth Barry was touted to be Alonso’s replacement. A move that ultimately collapsed. Alberto Aqualani was bought for £20mil. He was injury prone and that cost him. Raul Meireles played a season following a £10mil move but asked to be transfer listed on the Eve of the Summer Transfer Window just a a season after his arrival. Sold to Chelsea for £12mil. The list could go on and on but it seems that Liverpool just could not and cannot find a player to replace the man we lost almost a decade ago.
There have been a lot of tributes to one of the greatest players in modern times but the only way to full appreciate Xabi Alonso is by listing his accolades wherever he has been in his career from Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich to his native Spain National Team. Liverpool: Champions League, FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Community Shield. Real Madrid: La Liga, 2x Copa Del Rey, Spanish Super Cup and Champions League. Bayern Munich: Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and German Super Cup. Spain: 2x European Cup and World Cup. A star studded list of accolades to help justify why Alonso was one of the best player to play in the Premier League.
Will Liverpool ever replace Xabi Alonso in the near future? Whoever is chosen for such a job has big boots to fill because Alonso, and this is no exageration, was a genius. It is always a shame to see players hang up their boots for the final time but most people will agree that Alonso has earned the right to close the curtains on his own terms. It would have been fantastic to have seen the Spaniard back at Liverpool, there were even rumours of that before he joined Bayern Munich, but alas… it was not meant to be. It has been a true privelidge to have seen this genius at work for Liverpool. YNWA