Thursday 09 March 2017, 14:45

World Cup winner Alonso to hang up boots

2010 FIFA World Cup™ winner Xabi Alonso has confirmed he will retire when his contract expires with German champions Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

The 114-time Spain star, who called time on his international career in 2014 after two UEFA EURO triumphs and La Roja’s South Africa 2010 success, wrote on social media: "Lived it. Loved it. Farewell beautiful game."

"It wasn't an easy decision to make, but I believe it's the right time," Alonso said. "I always thought it would be better to quit sooner rather than later. I still feel good, but I believe this is the right moment.

"I wanted to end my career still at the highest level, and Bayern is the highest level. I'm incredibly proud and happy to play for FC Bayern and to be a part of this family."

The 35-year-old started his club career with Real Sociedad and moved to Liverpool in 2004 where he won the UEFA Champions League in his first season on Merseyside, before going on to play in the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup.

Another Champions League title followed in 2014 for Alonso after moving to Spanish giants Real Madrid, where the Tolosa-born midfielder also lifted a domestic title and two Copa del Reys.

Alonso joined current club Bayern in 2014 where he has since claimed two German Bundesliga titles and the 2016 DFB-Pokal.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "Bayern would like to thank a great player and a man who has played the Bayern way on and off the pitch excellently. Xabi Alonso is one of the greats of world football. He has won everything in his career. He is also an outstanding personality, a gentleman of football."