The Spain and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has announced his retirement. The former Real, Liverpool and Bayern Munich star, who will be 37 next month, has been a regular in his country’s midfield for the past 15 years.
Alonso announced his decision on Twitter saying: “17 years, 8 countries, 3 national teams and these two words: I’m retiring from football.” Alonso, the oldest player in Madrid’s first team this season at 33, had previously said that a knee injury might force him to retire in December.
The world and European champions El Clásico clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid on Sunday. This will be the sixth time that the two sides will meet at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Alonso, who spent two years with Liverpool and had spells with Bolton Wanderers and Fiorentina, was born in Athens and brought up in Zaragoza, one of Spain’s major footballing cities. He began his career at Real Zaragoza before moving to Liverpool in 1999.
Alonso will officially leave Real Madrid in December and join Chicago Fire. The Uefa legend is set to return to his home country to address a youth coaching seminar in Madrid later this month, the Spanish football federation said.
Alonso, who was voted Fifa’s best player in 2006, captained Spain to their third Euro 2008 title and also helped them reach the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup. He started his international career in 1998 and, despite starting only 61 matches, won the 2007 Euro 2004 Golden Boot for his 28 goals.
In 2016 he was named the World Soccer Team of the Year by Uefa.