Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has confirmed he will retire at the end of the season.
The former Spain midfielder’s 18th season as a professional will be his last, bringing down the curtain on a glittering career at club level and with his country.
Alonso was part of Spain’s successful World Cup team in 2010, as well as their European Championship-winning squads in 2008 and 2012, picking up 114 caps for La Roja.
The playmaker is also a two-time Champions League winner, having scored in Liverpool’s incredible comeback to win the final in 2005 before helping Real Madrid to ‘La Decima’ in 2014. Bayern are also set for a deep run in this season’s competition, having thrashed Arsenal 10-2 on aggregate in the last 16.
He is likely to step away from the game with a third Bundesliga from as many seasons at the Allianz Arena, with a LaLiga winners’ medal also in his pocket from his time at Madrid.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I believe it’s the right time. I always thought it would be better to quit sooner rather than later. I still feel good, but I believe this is the right moment,” Alonso told FC Bayern.tv live.
“I wanted to end my career still at the highest level, and Bayern is the highest level. I’m incredibly proud and happy to play for FC Bayern and to be a part of this family.”
Bayern’s executive board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added: “FC Bayern would like to thank a great player and person for representing FC Bayern to such a high standard both on and off the pitch.
“Xabi Alonso is one of the greats of world football. He has won everything there is to win during his career. He’s a thoroughly remarkable person, and a gentleman of the game.”