Bayern Munich have completed the signing of Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid on a two-year contract for an undisclosed fee.
The 32-year-old is Pep Guardiola’s sixth signing of the summer, as the former Barcelona boss looks to build on his side’s consecutive Bundesliga and DFB Pokal titles.
It has been an eventful week for the central midfielder who was left out of Real’s starting line-up for their opening La Liga match against newly-promoted Cordoba on Monday, before he announced his retirement from international duty on Wednesday after winning 114 caps for Spain.
Speculation emerged yesterday that he was having a medical at the Allianz Arena, and he has completed his move to Germany today.
Guardiola has made a move for the former Real Sociedad man after seeing FIFA World Cup winner Toni Kroos sign at Santiago Bernabeu, while ex-Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez has been ruled out until the New Year. This leaves Bastian Schweinsteiger as the only senior holding midfielder player is the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Alonso will certainly fit the bill alongside Schweinsteiger in the midfield anchor roles. His wide range of passing will be very beneficial for Guardiola’s style of play, with his ability to play simple 10-yard passes to feet as well as being very capable of spreading a 60-yard cross-field ball.
He has enjoyed a very successful career since turning professional in 1999 – winning 10 trophies at club level, including two UEFA Champions League triumphs, as well as being part of the Spanish treble winners at international level.
After coming through the youth ranks at Sociedad, he was made team captain at the age of 20 by new manager John Toshack. Under his leadership, Txuriurdin went from the brink of relegation to finishing a comfortable 14th in La Liga.
Two seasons later he helped them finish second behind future employers Real, and won the Don Balon award (best Spanish player) as well as receiving his first Spain cap.
A move to Liverpool under former Valencia boss Rafael Benitez was imminent in the summer of 2004, and he established himself alongside captain Steven Gerrard in the heart of the Reds midfield.
He scored in the Champions Final comeback success against AC Milan in 2005, and played most of the FA Cup final success against West Ham United the following year.
Five successful seasons at Anfield earned him a move to the Bernebau, and it was no coincidence that Liverpool’s decline came soon after his departure.
He had to wait until the following year for his first silverware at Madrid though, that arrived in the form of the 2011 Copa del Ray. Alonso made 36 appearances in the title-winning 2011/12 season, and was named as La Liga’s best midfielder as well as earning a place in the FIFA World XI for a second consecutive year.
After a season without a trophy in 2012/13, Alonso played the whole game as Real edged out Barca in the 2013/14 Copa del Ray but was suspended for the La Decima success in the Champions League final.
Despite signing a contract extension with Madrid back in January, he has secured what should be his last big transfer and hopefully there will be even more silverware to follow for him.
Alonso is a very good addition for Bayern and he will bring more experience of winning trophies into a very ambitious side. The only issue that remains for me is whether he and Schweinsteiger can complement each other well, despite being very similar holding midfield players.