MUNICH: Veteran Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso has announced that he will become the second Bayern Muncih senor to retire at the end of the season.
Last month club captain Philipp Lahm said he would end his playing career one year before the formal expiry of his contract with the German champions and Champions League quarter-finalists.
Alonso’s contract expires in July. The 35-year-old said: “It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I believe it’s the right time. 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.”
After starting at local Real Sociedad de San Sebastian, Alonso joined Liverpool in 2004 and was an influential member of the side who won a dramatic Champions League final against AC Milan in 2005.
Alonso scored the equaliser as Liverpool battled back from a 3-0 half-time deficit in Istanbul before going on to win on penalties.
He also won the FA Cup and UEFA Supercup before returning to Spain in 2009 with Real Madrid.
Five years at the Estadio Bernabeu brought another Champions League crown for Alonso, as well as a league title and two Copa del Rey triumphs.
He moved to Bayern in 2014 and has already helped win back-to-back Bundesliga titles.
Bayern are seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, in the last eight of the Champions League after thrashing Arsenal 10-2 on aggregate and in the semi-finals of the German cup.
Alonso also enjoyed a glittering career with Spain, making 114 appearances for his country and helping them win the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships.
He added: “I’ve experienced so much as a player with Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
“They are all great clubs. And of course, with the Spanish national team. I never would’ve thought I’d have such a great career, and I hope there’s more to come before it ends.”