Saturday, May 19, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 33: Xabi Alonso


At number 33 in the '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is our current Spanish midfield maestro Xabi Alonso.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Xabi Alonso
Position: Midfield

Years at Liverpool: 2004 to present
Position: Midfield

Date-of-birth: 25/11/1981
Birthplace: Tolosa (Spain)

Signed from: Real Sociedad (August 2004)

Games: 87
Goals: 8

Honours: European Cup (2005), FA Cup (2006), Super Cup (2005), Charity Shield (2006)

Spanish playmaker Xabi Alonso has been one of the most impressive signings of Rafael Benitez's managerial reign at Anfield and a pivotal figure in Liverpool's recent resurgence. Acquired from Real Sociedad shortly after the start of Rafa's first season in charge of the Reds, Alonso made an immediate impact with his visionary passing style. The Basque-born midfield maestro has since established himself as one of the mainstays of the first eleven and a firm favourite with the fans. A broken ankle, sustained following a challenge by Chelsea's Frank Lampard at Anfield on New Years Day 2005, sidelined Alonso for three months and the fact that he was so sorely missed is testimony to how quick he'd become a key component in the team. Prior to his arrival on Merseyside, Alonso had forged a growing reputation as one of the most promising young midfielders in Europe, attracting the interest of Real Madrid and a host of several other top clubs on the continent, and it was easy to see why. Calm and composed when on the ball, his ability to pick out a killer pass – be it short or long - regularly draws gasps of admiration from the appreciative Anfield gallery. He also possesses a powerful and accurate shot that has resulted in him netting some spectacular goals, as Fulham, Arsenal, Sunderland and Luton have discovered to their cost, with the latter – a stunning strike from within his own half at Kenilworth Road –hailed as one of the greatest FA Cup goals of all-time. There's no doubt, however, that his most crucial goal was the one that completed the famous Champions League Final comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul when, after seeing his spot-kick saved by Dida, he followed up to successfully convert the rebound. Twelve months later he collected his second major honour as Liverpool defeated West Ham to win the FA Cup. His participation at the Millennium Stadium had been in doubt after suffering an injury against Portsmouth the previous week but he recovered in time to play his part, despite being substituted midway through the second half. As he now enters his third season in English football Alonso will be looking to build on an impressive first two years with the Reds and if his outstanding form continues then there'll no doubt be many more memorable moments to come.

Claim to fame: Scoring the equaliser v Milan in Istanbul

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