Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Liverpool agree to sell Xabi Alonso to Real

REUTERS , MADRID

Xabi Alonso of Spain celebrates a goal against Turkey during a World Cup European qualifying match at Istanbul’s Ali Sami Yen stadium on April 1.

PHOTO: EPA

Liverpool have agreed to sell Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid, the two clubs said on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old, who had been with Liverpool for five seasons, will move for an undisclosed fee, subject to a medical, Liverpool said on their Web site, www.liverpoolfc.tv.

“Liverpool Football Club this evening confirmed they had reached agreement for the sale of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid, subject only to a medical,” the statement said. “The terms of the deal will remain confidential and undisclosed.”

Real confirmed the agreement in a statement posted on their Web site, www.realmadrid.com.

Spanish media reported the deal was worth around 30 million euros (US$43.17 million), which would take Real Madrid’s close-season spending up to around 250 million euros.

Alonso came up through the youth ranks with Real Sociedad and was one of Rafael Benitez’s first signings when he took charge of Liverpool in 2004, moving for £10.5 million (US$17.8 million).

He quickly became a Kop favorite, helping them win the European Cup in 2005 and the FA Cup the following year.

Alonso has also been a regular feature in the Spain squad since 2003 and was a part of Luis Aragones’ victorious side at Euro 2008.

Benitez fought hard to keep a player central to his plans, but media reported it was Alonso who requested a transfer.

In response to a trophyless season made worse by arch-rivals Barcelona scooping a treble, new president Florentino Perez has set in motion a huge squad rebuilding program at the Bernabeu.

However, Real Madrid have ended their search for new signings with the deal to sign Alonso and will now focus on trimming their squad, director-general Jorge Valdano said yesterday.

“We understood Xabi Alonso was an important player to complete our squad, and it was worth Real Madrid fighting for him,” Valdano told radio station Cadena Ser.

“The club needed a shake-up. Some very good players have come in to strengthen every position and the fans are very excited. With this move we end the search for new players. We continue searching for an exit for those who are surplus to requirements,” Valdano said.

Having spent around 250 million euros to lure eight players including Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema to the Bernabeu, Real have until the end of this month to cut Manuel Pellegrini’s squad back to 25 players.

Midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and forwards Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Alvaro Negredo have been linked with interest from clubs in Germany, Italy and England. Defender Michel Salgado, 33, has agreed to leave Real after 10 years with the club.

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