Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Spanish football legend Xabi Alonso played almost his entire career at the world’s most famous football club, winning four Champions League titles, one World Cup, and a Copa del Rey.
The 32-year-old midfielder retired from professional football last year and has decided to make a return to his native Spain to be a coach with Barcelona’s B team.
Xabi Alonso visits Barcelona as an advisor to FC Barcelona’s third division team – the Bangu FC. Credit: Gerard Garcia del Río/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
While visiting Barcelona on Monday — just weeks after the Catalan club won their fifth consecutive La Liga title — Alonso visited FC Barcelona’s third division team, Barau Llano, as an advisor.
He also spent time interacting with some of the younger players at the club’s Bangu B team. The Bangu are currently 14th in the fourth tier, out of the 22-team league, but they played entertaining and exciting football throughout the match.
“First of all, to come back, it’s a special moment for me,” Alonso said at a news conference with the Bangu, who are 3-6-2 this season. “It feels very nice to be on the field with the young players.”
Spanish legend Xabi Alonso with the players during a visit to FC Barcelona’s third division club, Barau Llano. Credit: Gerard Garcia del Río/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
The former Liverpool and Real Madrid star, who is one of the greatest players to have ever played the game, has been involved with the Bangu since February. He attends games at the team’s Velodrome stadium, where fans get to meet him and ask for autographs and photos.
Asked what he can tell the young players, Alonso replied: “I tell them to believe in themselves and keep trying to make their dreams happen. I tell them to have fun and work hard for their place in the team.”
Xabi Alonso sharing his soccer knowledge with the young players during a training session. Credit: Gerard Garcia del Río/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Alonso last appeared for the Spanish national team in 2016, when Spain won the European Championship.
“Xabi is our legend. It is a rare thing to have someone who touches all clubs in the same way,” said Luciano Tapia, the coach of Barau Llano. “His personality has never been divided. He has many positive things to share.”