Player, Real Sociedad 2000-2004, Liverpool 2004-2009, Real Madrid 2009-2014, Bayern Munich 2014-2017
If a footballer's education is the key factor in determining his potential as a coach, the retired Xabi Alonso might one day prove one of the best of all. Having made his senior debut aged 18 for Real Sociedad, where he excelled under Josh Toshack, in 2004 he joined Liverpool, and he became one of Rafa Benítez's most important signings.
After five successful years at Anfield, he left for Real Madrid, where he played under Manuel Pellegrini, José Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti. Those five years were hugely successful, and his time in Spain unexpectedly came to an end when Pep Guardiola signed him for Bayern Munich.
The best years of Alonso's playing career were also those in which Spain were the world's strongest team. They won the 2008 European Championship under Luis Aragonés, and then the 2010 World Cup and European Championship in 2012 under Vicente del Bosque.
Here, speaking exclusively to The Coaches' Voice, Alonso discusses his role at each club, and how those roles varied depending on who he was playing alongside, the manager he was playing for, and the opposition he was facing.
Author: Ali Tweedale