What now for Xabi Alonso? (Video)

With the arrival of Spanish midfielder Asier Illarramendi from Real Sociedad for £35m, are we about to see the end of Xabi Alonso at Real Madrid or will he continue to be one of the first names on the team sheet for Carlo Ancelotti?

Ever since he arrived from Liverpool in 2009 he has been a regular in the heart of the Real Madrid midfield. He has amassed more than 130 league games in four seasons for a club that has a squad bursting with talent and world class individuals sitting on the bench every week. This shows just how crucial he has been to the success of the club over recent years and whilst Cristiano Ronaldo takes all the headlines, he is only able to attack with such freedom because of Alonso’s passing range and ability to break up an opposition move.

Now that Madrid appear to be intent on signing the best young Spanish talent available, as evidenced by the purchases of Isco, Carvajal and Illarramendi, will Alonso keep his starting shirt ahead of a rising star of the game and one that also played at his previous club?

Real Sociedad have nurtured Illarramendi throughout his youth career and are now saying goodbye to a pivotal player that helped them to 4th place and a Champions League slot only a few months ago. He has been compared to Alonso on numerous occasions and it seems difficult for them both to play in the same team considering their similar characteristics. However, if Carlo Ancelotti continues with a 4-2-3-1 formation then he may allow for them both to operate behind an extremely potent attack.

Alonso has always expressed his love for former club Liverpool, and will travel to watch their games as often as his schedule allows. Whilst a return to Anfield is extremely unlikely given Brendan Rodgers preference for buying young talent with potential rather than established stars, there is certainly an option there should Madrid want to reduce their wage bill to accommodate further transfer activity. Other than a return to Merseyside I can’t see many other places that he would want to move to, and at the age of 31 he has at least three years of football at the highest level ahead of him.

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