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Xabi Alonso Spain kit
Xabi Alonso is a centre midfielder who currently plays for Real Madrid after beginning his career at Spanish club Real Sociedad. The former Liverpool man progressed through the youth and reserve ranks at Sociedad before making his debut at the age of 18 during the 1999 season. He failed to make another appearance that campaign and was loaned out to SD Eibar in order to get more opportunities. At the same time, Sociedad were going through a dire patch of form that saw them at the bottom of the league. Alonso was recalled to the team and was made captain of the side at the age of 19. Sociedad's fortunes dramatically improved with Alonso as a pivotal player. The team survived relegation and then consolidated with a mid table finish the following year. However, the 2002/03 campaign saw Alonso come to the attention of the world with a series of impressive displays as Sociedad finished 2nd in the league behind only Real Madrid. Alonso's performance in the Champions League attracted some of Europe's big clubs and eventually he exited Sociedad in 2004.
Premier League club Liverpool purchased Alonso for £10.7 million signalling the start of a new era under Rafael Benitez. The midfielder initially settled well at the club and received high praise for some of his performances. However, a bad ankle injury sustained in January 2005 kept him out for three months. Nevertheless, upon his return the club continued to progress deeper into Europe and eventually won the Champions League with a historic penalty victory over AC Milan. The following season brought another trophy for Alonso as this time; Liverpool triumphed in the FA Cup with a penalty victory in a famous final against West Ham. Even so, the midfielder could not obtain Premiership glory with the club as they continued to be beaten to the trophy by Manchester United and Chelsea.
Following several seasons of speculation with a move to Real Madrid, Alonso eventually left Liverpool for the Spanish giants in the summer of 2009 for £30 million. The player has settled into life at the Bernabeu but recently revealed that he never wanted to leave Liverpool and that only differences with Rafael Benitez the prior season had made him think twice. The player's international career with Spain has always been fairly stop start due to Spain's high quality collection of midfielders. His finest moment with the national team was being a part of the squad that won the 2008 European Championships.
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