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Reds pick up Spanish pair

Published: Friday 20 August 2004, 22.17CET
Liverpool FC have signed Real Sociedad de Fútbol's Xabi Alonso and FC Barcelona's Luis García for a €25m total.

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Published: Friday 20 August 2004, 22.17CET

Reds pick up Spanish pair

Liverpool FC have signed Real Sociedad de Fútbol's Xabi Alonso and FC Barcelona's Luis García for a €25m total.
Liverpool FC's Spanish contingent has swollen to four after manager Rafael Benítez completed the transfers of Xabi Alonso and Luis García.

Five-year contracts
The Merseysiders paid €16m to sign Spain midfield player Alonso from Real Sociedad de Fútbol while agreeing a €9m fee with FC Barcelona for wide man Luis García. Both players have penned five-year contracts.

New partner for Gerrard
Benítez had already recruited right-back Josemi from Málaga CF and Real Madrid CF winger Antonio Nuñez, who arrived as part of the deal that took Michael Owen to the Santiago Bernabéu. The 22-year-old Alonso will wear the No14 shirt and partner Steven Gerrard in the Liverpool midfield, while Luis García, the Reds' new No10, will provide Benítez with another attacking option, either behind a lone striker or down the flanks.

Spanish international
Alonso, a key figure when Real finished second in the Primera División in 2002/03, said: "It is difficult to leave Spain and Real Sociedad but it was Rafael Benítez who helped me decide to join Liverpool. I am happy about him being at the club - that helped me to go there." The son of former Spanish international Periko Alonso, he was part of the Spain side that beat Venezuela 3-2 on Wednesday night and made two appearances at UEFA EURO 2004™.

'Attacking mentality'
Luis García, meanwhile, scored four times in 25 games last season as Barça were runners-up in the league. Benítez has worked with him before at CD Tenerife and described the 26-year-old as "a skilful player with a lot of talent and an attacking mentality".

Kirkland injury
Neither player will be eligible for the second leg of Liverpool's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against Grazer AK on Tuesday. The Reds, who lead 2-0 following the first leg in Austria, will also be without goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who has a back injury.

Last updated: 21/08/04 17.34CET

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