Why Xabi Alonso told his teammates to stop celebrating with him after winning the World Cup

As World Cup finals go, the 2010 edition was far from a classic.

Pre-tournament favourites Spain eventually emerged deserved victors when Andres Iniesta scored a late winner in extra-time.

The pattern of play and flow of the game certainly wasn’t helped by Bert van Marwijk’s aggressive Dutch tactics that almost kept the Spaniards at bay.

Referee Howard Webb was forced to show 14 yellow cards – with John Heitinga picking up two of them – a record for a World Cup final.

However, Holland were somewhat fortunate to not have another man sent off after Nigel de Jong committed one of the most horrific challenges you are ever likely to see on a football pitch.

Just in case you need a reminder, De Jong raised his boot extremely high as the ball dropped down, only for Xabi Alonso to nip in just before the Dutch midfielder.

Rather than connect with the ball, De Jong’s boot plunged into Alonso’s chest – see the video below.

Remarkably, the now 32-year-old Dutch international wasn’t given his marching orders by Webb as the British official was partially unsighted for the incident.


De Jong was heavily criticised for the challenge after the game and it arguably became the most memorable moment of the entire game.

Immediately after the tackle, Alonso was writhing on the floor in agony and has now revealed exactly what was going through his mind at the time.

“What did I think at the time? I didn’t think anything, as I was on the floor with no idea what had happened – I had to watch a replay on the TV screen!” he told FourFourTwo.

“All I felt was extreme pain in my chest. My body was shaking, but this was the World Cup final – there was no way I was going off. I played for as long as I could.”

The recently retired midfielder was eventually substituted in the 87th minute and could only watch on as his teammates achieved glory.

The pain was so bad it even affected how he celebrated winning the most prestigious trophy in football.

“It felt like my body had been torn apart and then not put back together properly.

“There were a couple of stud marks but nothing else, as the impact was right on my ribcage. After Andres [Iniesta] won it for us, people were spraying water everywhere and I had to make them stop, as even that was hurting me! I had to say, ‘Leave me with this pain!’”

Wow, we all assumed it would be sore but not quite to that extent!

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