Premier League duo Chelsea and Liverpool appear to be facing a fight to sign Xabi Alonso, with reports suggesting that the midfielder could be seeking to negotiate a new deal with Real Madrid.
31-year-old Alonso has been a pivotal figure at the Santiago Bernabeu since moving back to his homeland during the summer 2009, but his future has been the subject of intense debate in recent months with his current contract set to expire in June.
The talented deep-lying playmaker, who has forged an impressive reputation as one of Europe's most elite midfield stars, has been linked with a return to Merseyside - where he spent five years prior to his move to the the Spanish capital - and, in more recent days, a potential switch to Jose Mourinho's Blues.
However, it would now appear that the title rivals could face a battle with Real themselves, with French newspaper Le 10 Sport claiming that the World Cup winner could extend his stay with Carlo Ancelotti's Blancos beyond the end of the current campaign.
Although Alonso has arguably gone beyond his supposed 'peak' years, his fantastic vision and dazzling array of passing evidently still sees him held in particularly high-regard across the continent.