Updates from Friday, Aug. 29
Bayern Munich also released a statement on the club's website:
His name is known and revered throughout the footballing world: Xabier Alonso Olano a.k.a. Xabi Alonso, widely regarded as one of the top players on the planet, is now at FC Bayern. He is a World Cup winner and two-time European champion with Spain, and a Champions League winner in 2005 and 2014. Xabi Alonso knows how to win titles and now at the age of 32 he is seeking a new challenge at FCB.
Javi Martinez welcomed Alonso via Twitter:
Bayern Munich have completed another astute piece of transfer business after it was confirmed that Xabi Alonso has joined the Germans from Real Madrid.
Madrid's official website announced the news:
Real Madrid C.F. and Bayern Munich have reached an agreement for the transfer of Xabi Alonso.
The player will speak to the media today (Friday) at 11:00h in the Santiago Bernabéu press room, alongside director of Institutional Relations, Emilio Butragueño.
Bayern Munich's Twitter account also added an official voice to the transfer:
Alonso cut an emotional figure at the press conference, acknowledging the Madrid fans for their support. He also clarified that his decision had nothing to do with the extra competition for his place in midfield following the purchase of Toni Kroos.
ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan provided some of Alonso's key quotes:
Alonso: "It has been the most difficult decision of my life, it is never easy to leave Real Madrid."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 29, 2014
Alonso: "Thanks to teammates. We have suffered, cried and laughed together, but in the end we won La Decima after so many years."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 29, 2014
Alonso: "Nothing to do with not being named in first XI v Cordoba, it was about a feeling I had, that this was the right moment.”— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 29, 2014
Alonso: “Madrid have made great signing with Toni Kroos, he is great player. But decision is not to do that, it comes from further back.”— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 29, 2014
Alonso also revealed he did not entertain a potential move back to England, amid links to Manchester United and Chelsea, because he did not want to wreck his relationship with former club Liverpool, per Pete Jenson of the Mail Online:
I had five great years at Liverpool and I would rather just keep that memory as it is. The interest came in from Bayern in the last two weeks and it's the right decision.
News of Alonso's transfer initially broke on Wednesday, the same day that he announced his retirement from the Spanish national team, per an alternative Jenson Daily Mail article. As a result, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola can expect to receive the 32-year-old's full commitment for the duration of his deal.
Bayern's official Twitter account confirmed on Thursday that talks had reached an agreement in principle between the two clubs, while Bleacher Report Spanish expert Guillem Balague revealed the exit was sparked by Alonso's desire to move:
XA decission 2 leave Madrid took club by surprise. MUFC approached him few weeks ago and agent and club answered, He's 100% staying.— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 28, 2014
It may strike as surprising to see the veteran leave the Bernabeu and his native Spain just three months after winning the Champions League with Los Merengues. However, Alonso can certainly hope for similar success in his new surroundings.
Squawka and WhoScored.com illustrate that he remains a highly valuable asset, irrespective of age:
No Real Madrid player completed more passes per 90 minutes in La Liga last season than Xabi Alonso (72.9). pic.twitter.com/Z9IXAOEqDy— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 28, 2014
Xabi Alonso: Only goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz (1188) has played more accurate long balls in La Liga since Aug 2009 than @XabiAlonso (1173)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 28, 2014
Alonso will also make a considerable jump in wages at the Allianz Arena. Spanish newspaper Marca reported earlier in the week that his annual salary would increase from €6 million to €10 million.
Where would Alonso win more trophies in the next two years?
Such expenditure shows just how coveted Alonso is in Bavaria. He will add quality alongside the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thiago Alcantara, helping to set the kind of tempo that Guardiola craves from his side.
Toni Kroos moved in the opposite direction for a fee of £20 million earlier this summer. Given that Alonso's fee was substantially less, one might argue Der FCB are in a stronger position now than they were at the start of the summer.
Bundesliga writer Jonathan Harding notes that Alonso joins as the superior version of Kroos:
Sell 'student' Kroos, for less than they probably should have considering his credentials, and replace him with 'teacher' Alonso. #shrewd— Jonathan Harding (@JonBloggs66) August 28, 2014
Alonso's arrival helps further compensate for the long-term injury picked up by Javi Martinez, while the signing of Mehdi Benatia, also revealed by the club's official website on Wednesday, is another big addition.
Having stayed fairly quiet for much of the summer, the German juggernaut has moved late to secure another fine player in Alonso. The Spaniard will look forward to challenging for another Champions League success in a new setting, having already lifted the trophy at Liverpool and Madrid.