Xabi Alonso is going to play for Real Madrid

After six years in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire, Xabi Alonso is returning to his roots in Spain with Real Madrid. Alonso, 34, said he won’t be returning to the U.S. to play, “it’s for now ended.”

Alonso, 34, came to MLS for four seasons from 2009-11, winning the league’s MVP award in 2010. He had 21 goals and 26 assists in 127 games with the Fire, the city he grew up in. He has 66 goals and 44 assists in 211 appearances for Real Madrid and Spain over 18 years.

In a recent article in ESPN, Alonso talked about how playing for Real Madrid has improved him in the ways he plays. He said:

“People think I’m soft, but I’m not. Maybe that’s the worst thing ever; I’m very hard. But what’s helped me is the quality of the opponents in the Liga. I’ve been able to challenge myself against more physical players like Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho and Sergio Ramos. I’ve also played in the same league for seven years, from the time I was 16 until this day.”

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