Liverpool say so long to Alonso
Liverpool's Xabi Alonso is poised to sign for Real Madrid today after the clubs agreed a fee believed to be £30million for the Spain international.
The end of a summer-long saga over the 27-year-old's future ended when Liverpool issued a short statement effectively bringing to a close his spell on Merseyside.
The statement read: “Liverpool Football Club this evening confirmed they had reached agreement for the sale of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid, subject only to a medical. The terms of the deal will remain confidential and undisclosed.”
But although Liverpool will not reveal the details of the deal, privately sources were maintaining that manager Rafael Benitez had got his own way over the fee.
It is believed that Madrid made another attempt to end the deadlock yesterday with an offer of £30million that will rise to £34million depending on Alonso's success over the first two years of what is believed to be a five-year contract.
Alonso had trained with his Liverpool colleagues yesterday at the club's Melwood complex.
But as the Liverpool party headed for John Lennon airport and a charter flight to Norway for tonight's friendly with Lyn Oslo, Alonso was heading back to Spain.
Real Madrid issued a statement of their own, confirming he will have a medical tomorrow.
Assuming all goes well, he will join his former Liverpool team-mates Alvaro Arbeloa — who moved to Real last week for £3.5million — and goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek at the Bernabeu.
Alonso and Dudek were part of the famous night in Istanbul when Liverpool lifted the European Cup after a penalty shoot-out victory over AC Milan.
Now only Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher remain at the club from the 18 players on the team sheet in Istanbul that night.
Alonso's departure has been a long and painful experience for Liverpool fans.
Benitez tried to sell him last summer in the complexities of his unsuccessful fight to sign Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.
Alonso did not want to go then, and has always felt that he was being forced out of the club to finance the Barry deal.
This summer it was Benitez who did not want to lose the player, who is believed to have told his manager on the final day of last season that he wanted to return to Spain.
From that point on, Madrid waged a persistent war to sign the player as they assembled a new squad under president Florentino Perez.
With the Alonso deal, Perez will have spent around £220million in two months on Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Raul Albiol, Esteban Granero, Arbeloa, Alvaro Negredo and Karim Benzema.