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He did not cost €50 million, he does not get the praise for any of Ronaldo's goals or Ozil's assists, he will never win the Ballon d'Or or be called the best player on his team.
Make no mistake, though. Xabi Alonso is the driver behind Real Madrid.
Without him, there would be no record-breaking seasons. Without him as Madrid's defensive midfielder, the counter attack that has been perfected would not work.
Alonso has the most important role on the team. He is the pivot switch. He is the last line of defense in midfield before his defenders are left with opposing forwards.
The Basque star is the man who starts every attack for Madrid, especially counters. As soon as he earns the ball back, he has very little time to find his playmaker or get the ball out of danger.
He is always the hardest-working man on the pitch. He has to be aware of so many things going on around him that it is a wonder how he even finds time to look back.
When he is off the ball, he is the one pressing the attacking midfielders when they reach the final third. Before that, he is reading and then closing passing lanes to seal off any runs when they happen farther from goal.
Ronaldo scores because his teammates give him the ball with room to do so. Those players get the ball in position to create goals because of their defensive midfielders and the superb passing of Xabi Alonso.
He will never get enough glory or due credit, but Xabi Alonso is as indispensable as anyone in white.