The big issue: Xabi Alonso and the window dressing managers need to tick the box

The Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has begun a new job at Fábrica Oléco, his old club from his home town of Rosario. A lot of young players will be wondering how to succeed at their chosen club – imagine your childhood dreams of being a professional footballer, dreaming of making it at a club you support, and today you find yourself in a cubicle, responsible for dirtying a shoe. Xabi knows this, having arrived in Spain aged 10 at San Lorenzo and spent nine years there.

After a flirtation with Celtic, he joined Real Madrid and moved into the international arena, scoring an iconic goal for Liverpool against the Germans. Alonso is well known for his commitment to the cause and that commitment has translated to club life. He has earned titles in Spain, France, Italy and England. Alonso has won two league titles and three Copa del Rey trophies with Real Madrid, while his playing career includes Champions League medals with Liverpool and Real Madrid. He is the current vice-captain at Madrid.

The last 24 months for Alonso have been difficult. His international career was hit by a back injury, which saw him miss a large part of the season, while at club level, the club’s relationship with the federation affected his career. Alonso’s two seasons at Anfield were marred by Liverpool’s transfer ban and he was dropped by Jose Mourinho. However, at club level he has flourished under Santiago Solari.

He might have a tendency to let his hair down at club level but Alonso is more than just a player. His dog is even from his former club, Oléco. It is said that the puppy used to sing for Alonso’s right boot but the countryman politely declined. Oléco is currently living on a farm and eating sardines, and unless he manages to find a new home for the last meal before retirement, we can expect him to sing.

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