Bayern Munich star Xabi Alonso announces retirement from football

Alonso has already announced his intention to retire from football at the end of the season and is looking to sign out in fitting style following a trophy-laden career, having won Europe's top prize with Liverpool in 2005 and Real in 2014.

Alonso's glittering career has also seen him win three league titles - one La Liga and two Bundesligas - as well as domestic cup glory for Liverpool, Real and Bayern.

'I think Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are the strongest so facing them later [in the tournament] would be better'.

He added: "I wanted to end my career still at the highest level, and Bayern is the highest level".

"I am very proud and happy to play with Bayern and be a part of this family".

Alonso was also a key member of Spain's all-conquering national team of the late 2000s, winning back-to-back UEFA European Championships in 2008 and 2012, and the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

The 35-year-old has featured 27 times for Bayern Munich this season, including playing all 180 minutes in their 10-2 aggregate Champions League last-16 triumph over Arsenal. "He's a thoroughly remarkable person, and a gentleman of the game", Bayern's chief executive officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

'A Bayern-Real Madrid final would not be bad, ' he told Radio Onda Cero.

"These were four great clubs".

With two Bundesliga titles already under his belt, he looks set to make it three in a row with Bayern now seven points clear at the top. "I never would've thought I'd have such a great career, and I hope there is more to come before it ends".

  • Julie Sanders