Alonso Agrees to Two-Year Deal with Bayern Munich

Xabi Alonso is leaving his beloved home country and heading to Germany…

The 32-year-old Spanish soccer star has agreed to a two-year contract with Bayern Munich for an undisclosed fee.

Xabi Alonso

Alonso had been a midfielder for Real Madrid for five years following his £30m move from Liverpool in 2009.

Alonso, a Champions League winner in May, had just signed a new two-year deal in January.

Bayern moved for Alonso after Toni Kroos joined Madrid following the World Cup and fellow Spaniard Javi Martinez was ruled out until 2015 with a knee injury.

“He has bags of experience and a big personality,” said Bayern boss Pep Guardiola.

“We need a player with his quality and vision. I know he’s 32 but that doesn’t matter in this position, where you need intelligent players, rather than the legs and stamina for the flanks.”

“I had a great time here, we have won big things and now a new chapter opens for me. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to take,” said Alonso. “The club did not want me to go. It was my decision and I asked them to understand. The club didn’t share my idea but they understood my need to start a new chapter, to start from zero in a new club.”

Alonso, who won two European Championships and a World Cup with Spain, joined Liverpool from Real Sociedad in 2004 where he won the Champions League at the end of his first season.

Isco Declared “The Future” of Spain’s National Soccer Team

Isco is being heralded as the future of Spanish soccer…

Spain’s national team manager Vicente del Bosque has placed the future of Spanish football in the hands of the 21-year-old midfielder, insisting the Real Madrid recruit “is the future” for La Roja.

Isco

Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez, commonly known as Isco, played for Spain’s Under-21 side as they claimed the European Championship title last month, scoring a penalty in the final win over Italy.

His bronze boot-winning performance in the tournament reaffirmed Real Madrid’s interest in Isco and his five-year contract at the Bernabeu is likely to allow him to become a regular in the national team over the coming years.

Isco has made one appearance in Del Bosque’s side, but he’s confident the young futbalista can comfortably succeed the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso, alongside Real Madrid target Asier Illarramendi.

“We have a lot of hope pinned to Isco, he is the future of the national team,” Del Bosque told Radio Nacional de Espana. “Illarramendi is the complete midfielder. He has the personality to play for any team in the world.”

Del Bosque also responded to the criticism of Alvaro Arbeloa and Iker Casillas following the Confederations Cup final, claiming both players were crucial for Spain throughout the tournament.

“Alvaro played very well throughout the tournament,” he said. “It’s as if we are always looking for the weak link and we are all guilty of that. Casillas was magnificent.

“We played good football at times but the final wiped away everything we did up until then. We now have another year to try to make sure we have a good World Cup – if we qualify.”

Messi Wins Record Fourth Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi is officially in a league of his own…

The 25-year-old Argentine fútbol has become the first four-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, FIFA’s Player of the Year award, after breaking the world record for most goals in a year with 91 goals for Barcelona and Argentina.

Lionel Messi

Messi won for the fourth straight time, beating Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo and his fellow Futbol Club Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta in voting announced Monday. His 91 goals topped Gerd Mueller‘s mark of 85 for Bayern Munich and Germany back in 1972.

Messi received 41.60 percent of the points in votes by national team coaches and captains plus selected media. Ronaldo got 23.68 percent and Iniesta 10.91 percent.

“To tell the truth, this is really unbelievable to get the fourth award. I am so nervous,” Messi said in Spanish, wearing a black tuxedo jacket and bow tie, both with a white polka-dot pattern in an unexpectedly flamboyant touch.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann and captain Carlos Bocanegra both voted Messi first, as did Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy.

Zinedine Zidane of France and Ronaldo of Brazil were voted FIFA Player of the Year three times before the award merged in 2010 with France Football’s Golden Ball, given to the European player of the year. The Golden Ball, or Ballon d’Or, was won three times by Michel Platini of France and Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten of the Netherlands.

Vicente del Bosque was voted top men’s coach after leading Spain to its third straight title in a major tournament, the 2012 European Championship. Del Bosque got 34.51 percent to win over Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho (20.49), who won last year, and Pep Guardiola (12.91) who won in 2011 and retired from Barcelona last spring.

The three men’s Player of the Year candidates were on the World XI All-Star team chosen by the FIFPro group of players’ unions, comprising 50,000 members worldwide.

They selected a team composed entirely of players from Spanish clubs, with nine repeating their selection from one year ago.

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas was selected as goalkeeper, joined on defense by teammates Sergio Ramos and Marcelo and by Barcelona’s Dani Alves and Gerard Pique. Iniesta was joined in midfield by Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez and Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso. Messi led the attack with Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid‘s Radamel Falcao. Marcelo and Falcao replaced Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney from the 2011 team.

Messi Named La Liga’s Best Player…

Lionel Messi is simply the best…

For the fourth year straight year, the 25-year-old Argentine fútbol star has been named best forward and best player as Spain’s Liga de Fútbol Profesional handed out awards for the 2011-2012 season.

Lionel Messi
Messi’s Futbol Club Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta was named best attacking midfielder and the squad’s captain, Carles Puyol, received the Fair Play award.

Real Madrid, which won the 2011-2012 first division title, was represented by Iker Casillas, best goalkeeper; Sergio Ramos, best defender; and Xabi Alonso, best defensive midfielder.

Best coach honors went to Pep Guardiola, who left Barça in May after four seasons highlighted by three Spanish titles and two Champions League crowns.

The award for top newcomer of the 2011-2012 campaign went to Francisco Alarcon, better known as “Isco,” of Malaga.

LFP players vote on the prizes for best player and best coach, while the awards for individual positions are decided by active LFP managers based on criteria set by a panel comprising respected former coaches.

Messi Could Pick Up a Fourth FIFA Ballon d’Or Award

Lionel Messi has the chance to make soccer history…

The 25-year-old Argentine fútbol star, who just claimed his second Golden Boot award, is among the 23 players in the running for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Lionel Messi

Should he come out on top, Messi, who made history by claiming the award the last three years in a row, would become the only player to claim the award four times.

But Messi will face stiff competition from several noted players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi Hernandez, this year’s runners-up for the world’s best player award.

Here’s a look at the nominees:

Real Madrid Players:
Cristiano Ronaldo
Iker Casillas
Mesut Ozil
Karim Benzema
Sergio Ramos
Xabi Alonso

Barcelona Players:
Lionel Messi
Andres Iniesta
Sergio Busquets
Gerard Pique
Xavi Hernandez

Atletico Madrid Player:
Radamel Falcao

Manchester City Players:
Mario Balotelli
Sergio Aguero
Yaya Toure

Manchester United Players:
Wayne Rooney
Robin van Persie

Juventus Players:
Andrea Pirlo
Gianluigi Buffon

Shanghai Shenhua Player:
Didier Drogba

PSG Player:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Bayern Munich Player:
Manuel Neuer

Santos Player:
Neymar

The final three candidates will be revealed on November 29 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Ballon d’Or ceremony will take place in Zurich on January 7, 2013, when the player who receives the most votes from coaches and captains of international teams, as well as reporters, will be announced.

Iniesta Named Euro Cup 2012 MVP…

Andres Iniesta is simply the best… And, he’s got the medal to prove it.

The 28-year-old Spanish futbolista has been honored as best player of the European Championship—the Euro Cup 2012—after helping Spain become the first nation to successfully defend the continental crown.

Andres Iniesta

Iniesta started all six of Spain’s matches, including Sunday’s 4-0 victory over Italy in the championship game at the Olympic Stadium in which he recorded an assist.

“Iniesta deserved it. He symbolized the tournament — the creative, incisive runner, with and without the ball,” says Union of European Football Association (UEFA) technical director Andy Roxbuirgh. “We felt that he epitomized a lot of what we saw.”

Roxbuirgh says UEFA’s panel also considered Spain midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso and Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo for the award.