Xabi Alonso’s return to Madrid will restore a legend

Written by By Staff Writer by Miriam Kramer, CNN

Xabi Alonso, one of the most successful midfielders of his generation, is returning to his home city of Madrid — but he has a twist.

The 33-year-old will return to his high school from where he began his career with the training centre Fez Alguicci.

Created by the Ottoman empire in 1879, the Institute for General Studies within the city was called El Carmen. To this day, it is home to some of the most talented young Spanish players, including Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez.

All the notable footballers spend a year training there — and many were Pedro’s teammates.

Fez has a pedigree of producing top-flight footballers who dominate the Spanish national team, including Fernando Torres, Santi Cazorla and Xavi Hernandez

Xabi Alonso, who scored 37 goals for Liverpool and Real Madrid, has said he plans to stay in Madrid

His two-and-a-half years studying Spanish is the first time Alonso has returned to the city he has called home for many years.

“It’s been a dream for many years and I’ve made great friends there,” Alonso told reporters. “It’s a lot easier to spend that time there than anywhere else.”

He is now focusing on two new projects with Spanish soccer’s biggest teams.

(Please note: this post has been updated to reflect Alonso’s departure from Real Madrid earlier this year.)

First, he’s the new coach of the Portuguese club FC Porto , where he will work alongside Didier Deschamps. The Frenchman played alongside Alonso when they both played for Real Madrid.

Second, he recently returned to top soccer club Real Madrid, where he will be the sporting director, the team’s general manager.

“The league is very difficult, but he’s able to deal with those difficulties and he has a very clear vision about how we want to go forward as a club,” said Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

As the executive technical director, Alonso will be responsible for identifying players for coach Julen Lopetegui’s team and advising on matters such as preparing ground for tournaments or scouting the market.

Alonso returned to the Spanish national team this summer as one of 33 players called up for the World Cup in Russia.

His heroics for Liverpool and Madrid are legendary. He scored a hat-trick in the Champions League final in 2008 and later helped Spain to a third-place finish.

But he was not selected for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

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