In what is likely to be their last major international tournament together, Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso believes Spain’s ‘Golden Generation’ can achieve football history at the World Cup this summer.
With the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Fernando Torres and Alonso himself all in their 30s, many see this as a final hurrah for the legendary side. Although the former Liverpool man is not thinking about the end of a historic dynasty which sees Vicente del Bosque’s team searching for an unprecedented fourth major international tournament win in a row.
‘Obviously we know that we’ve had a great run over the last six years," Alonso said. ‘It's not easy to achieve what we have achieved so far — two Euros and a World Cup between them. Because of that, we don't think that this might be the end. We see the next World Cup as a great chance to achieve something without precedence in football history.
‘Probably for a few players, it could be the last chance to play in a World Cup, and hopefully we will give our best and try to do as well as we have done in the last one. We know it’s not an easy task, but we're up for it.’
Alonso has been a key part of the Spanish side for nearly a decade, tasting success at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. The 32-year-old is likely to start for the team in Brazil this summer, before retiring from international football after the tournament, as has been rumoured.
Joining Real Madrid from Liverpool in August 2009 for around £30million, the veteran was crucial in his side’s Champions League-winning campaign this past season, despite missing the final due to suspension and suffering injury earlier in the campaign.
Rumours of a return to Anfield - where he played five seasons and won his first Champions League medal in 2005 before departing for the Spanish capital - have followed Alonso throughout the 2013-14 season. That is despite the player signing a new contract earlier this year until 2016.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has also not expressed any open interest in bringing the club legend back to the Premier League, while the recent reported signing of Bayer Leverkusen's Emre Can for £9.75million would leave little space in the side's midfield for next season.
Spain begin their World Cup defence with a Group B match against the Netherlands on June 13 in a repeat of the 2010 final, hoping their historic run does not end in a whimper.
Would a return to the Premier League be a good move for Alonso?