As his current team stand on the threshold of a 10th triumph in the European Cup, former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has reiterated his enduring affection for the Reds, Anfield and more.

The 32-year-old bewitched Kopites during his five years on Merseyside, exhibiting every pass, through ball and defence-splitter in the book courtesy of his sublime technique and vision.

In total, the Spaniard made 210 appearances for the club, registering 19 goals, as he helped Rafael Benitez's charges claim glory in the Champions League in 2005 and the FA Cup one year later.

Though he said his goodbyes half-a-decade ago, Alonso's reverence for the Reds and the crucial role his spell in England played in his personal development has not waned in the slightest.

"Liverpool was a very important part in my football career," the Real Madrid star told beIN SPORTS. "Especially when we played at Anfield, we achieved great things and we had great nights in Anfield.

"There is a passion and atmosphere that comes when you play in England in the Premier League. It's special and I had the privilege to play for five years for Liverpool, and it's a really special club.

"Anfield is a beautiful stadium and it has a certain charm and style that is very difficult to find in other stadiums. So I miss it a little bit; I really enjoyed the time that I spent in England, it was very important for my football career."

It is Spanish football that has proved the dominant force in European competition this season; Sevilla lifted the Europa League last week and tonight, Real will meet city rivals Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final.

In a cruel twist of fate, Alonso is restricted to a watching brief in Lisbon, as a yellow card during his team's semi-final, second leg victory over Bayern Munich brought a suspension for the showpiece.

The Spain international retains the respect and adulation of each group of fans he has represented throughout his storied and trophy-laden career - and the feeling is mutual.

He added: "I have been very committed to all of the teams that I have played for and each club that I have been a part of is very important to me.

"Because of that, I feel like part of Real Sociedad, Liverpool and Real Madrid family. They are in my heart and I will be very attached to them as well."

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