Former Spanish international midfielder Xabi Alonso has made the headlines for the second time in a week after moving from Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid to German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. Alonso was also in the news earlier in the week when the 32-year-old announced that he was stepping down from international football. Alonso has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with his new team after taking a medical in Germany. Reports said Bayern paid approximately nine million pounds for his services.
Bayern manager Pep Guardiola was pleased with his new acquisition and told the media, “Everyone knows Xabi Alonso. He has bags of experience and a big personality. We need a player with his quality and vision. I know he’s 32 but that doesn’t matter in this position, where you need intelligent players, rather than the legs and stamina for the flanks.”
Alonso made a name for himself while playing with Liverpool in the English Premier League several years ago after joining them from Real Sociedad. However, he left in 2009 to join Real Madrid for 30 million pounds. Most fans figured he’d be staying with Madrid after helping them win the European Champions League title in May and then signing a new two-year deal. Bayern was looking for a new midfielder to replace Toni Kroos, who joined Real Madrid this summer. In addition, Javi Martinez is out until 2015 due to a knee injury.
Alonso said it was a tough decision to leave, but he felt it was right. “I had a great time here, we have won big things and now a new chapter opens for me. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to take. The club did not want me to go. It was my decision and I asked them to understand. The club didn’t share my idea but they understood my need to start a new chapter, to start from zero in a new club.”
Also, addition, Bayern also announced that they recently signed 27-year-old Moroccan defender Mehdi Benatia from Roma of the Italian Serie A for an undisclosed fee.