ISTANBUL, TURKEY - WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th, 2005: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard celebrates with Xabi Alonso after beating AC Milan on penalties during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool legend Xabi Alonso announces retirement from football

Xabi Alonso has announced his retirement from professional football.

The Spaniard spent five seasons with the Reds from 2004 to 2009 and played in a key part in the club’s sensational Champions League triumph in 2005.

Held fondly in the hearts of Liverpool supporters, Alonso went on to enjoy a hugely successful career both in Spain with Real Madrid and then Germany.

With his contract with Bayern set to expire in the summer, the 35-year-old has moved to announced his retirement from professional football, bringing to an end an illustrious 18-year career.

Alonso had been regularly linked with a return to Liverpool in recent seasons, but has opted to go out on a high in the Bundesliga.

Bayern are challenging for their 27th title this season, with Alonso still playing a vital role in Carlo Ancelotti’s midfield, including scoring twice in three games at the start of the season.

LUTON, ENGLAND - SATURDAY, JANUARY 7th, 2006: Liverpool's Xabi Alonso scores the fifth goal against Luton Town during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at Kenilworth Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alonso made 210 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 19 goals – most of them eye-catching ones, and two from the halfway line, against Newcastle United and Luton (above).

A class player on and off the pitch, Alonso still holds the club and the city close to his heart after leaving in 2009 for Real Madrid.

Alonso’s retirement serves as a reminder of the virtue of calling on the experience of former players, but most saliently it allows time to appreciate one of Liverpool’s finest players of the modern era.

It will also mean Liverpool’s Legends team will have quite the midfield!

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