Alonso began his career at Real Sociedad, the main team of his home province Gipuzkoa. After a brief loan period at Eibar, he was appointed as team captain of Real Sociedad by then-manager John Toshack. He succeeded in the role, taking the club to second place in the 2002–03 season. He moved to Liverpool in August 2004 for £10.5 million and won the UEFA Champions League in his first season, under manager Rafael Benítez, scoring the equalising goal in the Final against Milan.
The following season, he won the FA Cup and the FA Community Shield. He moved to Real Madrid for the start of the 2009–10 season in a deal worth around £30 million. After winning honours including a league title in 2012 and the Champions League in 2014 during five seasons in Madrid, he was signed by German club Bayern Munich on a two-year contract. This was extended by a further year, and he eventually retired from playing in summer 2017, aged 35, having won the Bundesliga in each of his three seasons with Bayern. He made his international debut for Spain in April 2003 in a 4–0 victory against Ecuador.
While playing for Spain, Alonso won Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup, and he also represented his country at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. On 23 June 2012, Alonso won his 100th cap for Spain in the quarter-final of Euro 2012 against France; he celebrated the occasion by scoring both of Spain's goals to send them into the semi-finals. Following Spain's failure to progress out of the group stages at the 2014 World Cup, Alonso retired from international football on 27 August 2014. His 114 caps make him the seventh-most capped player in the nation's history.
Zinedine Zidane, popularly known as Zizou, is a French former professional football player who played as an attacking midfielder. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time,Zidane was an elite playmaker renowned for his elegance, vision, passing, ball control, and technique. He received many individual accolades as a player, including being named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003, and winning the 1998 Ballon d'Or.
Zidane started his career at Cannes before establishing himself as one of the best players in the French Division 1 at Bordeaux. In 1996, he moved to Juventus where he won trophies including two Serie A titles. He moved to Real Madrid for a world-record fee at the time of €77.5 million in 2001, which remained unmatched for the next eight years. In Spain, Zidane won several trophies, including a La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League. In the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final, he scored a left-foot volleyed winner which is considered to be one of the greatest goals in the competition's history.
Capped 108 times by France, Zidane won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scoring twice in the final, and was named to the All-Star Team. This triumph made him a national hero in France, and he received the Legion of Honour in 1998. He won UEFA Euro 2000, and was named Player of the Tournament. He also received the Golden Ball for Player of the Tournament at the 2006 World Cup, despite his infamous sending off in the final against Italy for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest. He retired as the fourth-most capped player in French history. In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the world's greatest living players compiled by Pelé, and in the same year was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll.
Zidane is one of eight players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d'Or.