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Xabi Alonso takes up managerial role with Real Sociedad

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Alonso returns to the Anoeta Stadium

Xabi Alonso is returning to Real Sociedad to take charge of the club's reserve team.

The former midfielder, who began his career with the La Liga side, said that the move will "improve his coaching skills" and that he is looking forward to beginning his journey with a club who are gearing up for an "exciting project".

The 37-year-old, who made over 30 appearances for Sociedad's reserve team - known as Sanse - right at the beginning of his career, has penned a two-year deal with his boyhood club.

"It's a beautiful day and very special," said Alonso.

"Everything I've lived was born here, first in Sanse and then in the first-team."

After graduating through the ranks at the Anoeta Stadium, Alonso went on to star for Sociedad's first-team 124 times, helping them qualify for the Champions League in 2003-04.

He left the Spanish club in 2004 to join Liverpool, winning the UCL with the Reds at the end of his debut season for the Merseyside club in 2004-05.

Alonso left Liverpool in 2009 and returned to Spain with Real Madrid, spending a further five years in the capital before moving to Bayern Munich in 2014.

Messi Alonso
Alonso moved to Liverpool from Real Sociedad in 2004.

The Spain international, who made over 100 appearances for his country throughout a distinguished career, retired from football in 2017 having won pretty much all there is to win in the game.

Alonso clinched the Champions League twice, the FA Cup, La Liga and the Bundesliga three times, alongside two European Championship's (2008, 2012) and one World Cup (2010) with Spain and is widely known to be one of the best central midfielders of his generation.

He took charge of Real Madrid's U13's last season, guiding the young Los Blancos' to a league title.

"I was very happy at Real Madrid, but coming to Real Sociedad is really exciting as I can improve at home," he added.

"As a player I liked to read the games, prepare them, try to control them, and as a coach I would also like my team to adapt to the games and be dynamic."

Real Sociedad's club president, Jokin Aperribay, said (when speaking to Alonso at his unveiling): "This is one of my most important days as president. Your return joins the past with the present, history with emotions.

"That a football figure like you comes back is an honour for us. If you teach half of what you know we will make a champion team."

Sociedad's reserve team play in the Segunda Division B, the third-tier of professional football in Spain.