Is Xabi Alonso one of the greatest midfielders of the last thirty...

Is Xabi Alonso one of the greatest midfielders of the last thirty years?

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One of the lesser profile exits from Real Madrid this summer saw Xabi Alonso leave Real Madrid for Bayern Munich to stand in for the injured Javi Martinez. Alonso was a crucial figure in Real Madrid’s side ever since Jose Mourinho took over. Cristiano Ronaldo went as far as to say that if it was up to him he would not have sold Alonso (or Angel Di Maria for that matter). Ronaldo’s current rift with the club is reportedly down to their transfer policy and Carlo Ancelotti is also said to be displeased at the fact the club let such a crucial player leave.

Without Alonso in their side Real Madrid have lost two games already this season. Alonso really was a brilliant player for them, despite the fact that he is now 32 years of age.¬†On Sunday Supplement journalist Anthony Kastrinakas waxed lyrical about Xabi Alonso and his midfield ability declaring him to be ‘one of the greatest midfielders of the last thirty years.’ This appears to be a bold statement but with Xabi Alonso’s wonderful record, surely there is some truth to it.

Alonso has one just one league title, La Liga under Jose Mourinho. But, he has won the Champions League twice, domestic trophies in England and Spain as well as the World Cup and two European Championships. This is a player with serious pedigree who has been capped 114 times for arguably the greatest international side ever. Alonso was an integral part of that Spanish side, even if he wasn’t amazing in World Cup 2014. His ability on the ball has always been marvelous and the fact that he has slotted in so easily under Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, even at 32, demonstrates this.

In just two games for Bayer he has already completed 215 passes at a pass completion rate of 90% with 12.5 long balls per game. This is a player who dictates the play for whatever side he plays for. He is also a player that gets involved and scraps in the midfield, sometimes bordering on dirty. He has completed three tackles per game for Bayern and averaged 5.5 defensive actions per game (as well as 2.5 fouls per game..).

Unfortunately he was suspended for the Champions League final but he was brilliant on the road to victory with two fantastic performances against Bayern Munich to knock them out 4-0 on aggregate. Alonso was the enforcer of that Real Madrid midfield who lacked a classic ball winning type midfield player. He provided the class, vision and composure at the back. Alonso did everything, he plugged gaps as well as playing killer passes. This is a player who will likely win his second career league title with Bayern Munich this season and could potentially add a further Champions League medal to his collection with a very strong Munich side. Kastrinakas was not exaggerating. Xabi Alonso really is one of the games great players.