Nearly 18 months on from his arrival at FC Bayern München, Xabi Alonso is enjoying life in Munich, and has big ambitions for the current season.
'When you control the ball, you control the game'
Alonso already had a bulging curriculum vitae when he joined Germany's record champions. During his five-year spells at Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF, the Spaniard won the UEFA Champions League on two occasions, as well as a host of domestic trophies. He also clinched UEFA EURO 2012 and FIFA World Cup 2010 with the Spanish national team.
It speaks volumes for his quality that, even approaching 34, Alonso remains a crucial part of Pep Guardiola's Bayern squad. Both his experience and his enduring brilliance both on and off the ball were invaluable to the Bavarians as they won a third consecutive Bundesliga title last season.
“In my position, you need to be strong in the tackle,” Alonso told Bayern's official website, “but I much prefer to have the ball”.