"Like a metronome," said José Mourinho and "royalty" according to Steven Gerrard. UEFA.com compiles just some of the praise that has come Xabi Alonso's way during a stellar career.
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Xabi Alonso has announced he will call time on his career at the end of this season.
"It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I believe it's the right time," the 35-year-told told FC Bayern.tv. "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," the Spaniard told FC Bayern.tv.
"I wanted to end my career still at the highest level, and Bayern is the highest level. I'm incredibly proud and happy to play for FC Bayern and to be a part of this family."
Clubs: Real Sociedad, Eibar (loan), Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern München
Honours: UEFA European Championship (2008, 2012 Spain), FIFA World Cup (2010 Spain), UEFA Champions League (2005 Liverpool, 2014 Madrid), UEFA Super Cup (2005 Liverpool), Liga (2012 Madrid), Bundesliga (2015, 2016 Bayern), FA Cup (2006 Liverpool), Copa del Rey (2011, 2014 Madrid), German Cup (2016 Bayern)
- Career in quotes
Early days at Real Sociedad – and on loan at Eibar – during which time he was made club captain aged 20 and made his senior Spain debut at 21.
"I don't remember a former youth team player causing such an impact at the club.
Everyone seems to play better when he is on the pitch."
John Toshack, the coach who gave Alonso his Liga debut
"Alonso has fantastic ball distribution and sees football with extraordinary clarity."
Former Spain coach Iñaki Sáez after Alonso's debut
The Liverpool era: Alonso was brought to Anfield by countryman Rafael Benítez and excelled alongside the likes of Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano. Won the UEFA Champions League in his debut season and helped Spain to UEFA EURO 2008 glory while with the Reds.
"It was clear Alonso was royalty after our first training session together in August 2004 ... He was, by some distance, the best central midfielder I ever played alongside. If, totally hypothetically, I was going to become Liverpool manager one day I know who I'd love to have as my assistant: Xabi Alonso or Jamie Carragher."
"The first one that springs to mind is Xabi Alonso. I was devastated when he left for Real Madrid."
Jamie Carragher when asked for his best Liverpool team-mate apart from Gerrard and Luis Suárez
"He is a quiet person and a lovely guy – a good team-mate. I don't need to talk about him as a player; people know how good he is. He has got everything. He is one of the most complete midfielders in the world."
Pepe Reina, a fellow Spaniard and Liverpool keeper from 2005–13
"The pass master. Nobody can pass the ball like him. I remember on his debut at Anfield, it probably took him about 39 minutes before he misplaced a pass. Unbelievable player."
John Arne Riise, Liverpool left-back from 2001–08
"Xabi is very clever. He is good with long and short passes. He has more skill than strength and is intelligent."
Rafael Benítez, manager throughout Alonso's time at Anfield
Back to Spain: Real Madrid paid a reported €35m for Alonso in August 2009. He underlined his status as one of the best midfielders of his generation during his time in the Spanish capital. Won another UEFA Champions League title as well as more major honours with his country.
"Xabi Alonso is like a metronome, a player in the style of Xavi Hernández. I'm sure that when he hangs his boots up he'll be a great coach. He reminds me of Pep Guardiola when he was a player: he already acts like a coach when he is on the field."
José Mourinho, Alonso's coach at Madrid between 2010 and 2013
"Xabi Alonso holds the key to everything. He is a very important player in this team, he has exceptional experience and qualities. He has that rare ability to see what is going to happen before it does."
Carlo Ancelotti, Alonso's coach at Madrid in 2013/14
"It's very difficult to improve on what he has done. He leaves us with a fantastic legacy. He has been a great professional."
Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach when Alonso announced his international retirement in 2014
Move to Bayern: Tempted to the Bundesliga by Josep Guardiola in August 2014, costing the Munich giants around €10m at the age of 33.
"If we signed him to chase opponents, we should forget about him. He would be the worst player in the world. We signed him to dominate the game. Once Xabi has the ball, he is the best player."
Josep Guardiola, Bayern coach for Alonso's first two seasons at the club
"Alonso is slow, that's true, but I was slow as a player as well. It's not a negative characteristic. It's important that the ball is circulated quickly and Xabi is one of the best at doing that."
Carlo Ancelotti, who reunited with Alonso for 2016/17
"Football is one thing, family another. He's a bit older too. He is a great human being and a superb professional. He has won everything there is to win. Perhaps he can lift the Champions League trophy once more; that would be a beautiful thing for him."
Arjen Robben, team-mate at Bayern
"Xabi Alonso played at Liverpool and Real Madrid for five years each. He was always world class and confirmed this at Bayern."
Jupp Heynckes, former Bayern and Real Madrid coach
"Xabi Alonso is an absolute world-class player. I wonder if the people at Real have already asked themselves whether it was a good idea to let him go."
Jürgen Klopp following Alonso's Bayern debut