Spanish World Cup winner and double European champion Xabi Alonso, 35, confirmed Thursday that he will retire at the end of the season when his Bayern Munich contract expires.
“It was not an easy decision but I think it’s a good time,” Alonso told Bayern Munich’s TV channel.
“I want to finish my career at the highest level, and Bayern is the highest level,” added the 2010 World Cup winner.
Defensive midfielder Alonso is the oldest member of the Bayern team, but can still command a first-team place under Carlo Ancelotti alongside Chile’s Arturo Vidal.
Bayern are into the Champions League’s quarter-final draw on March 17 and are bidding to repeat their 2013 treble of European, Bundesliga and German Cup titles.
“FC Bayern are grateful to a man and a great player, who has been superb for Bayern both on and off the pitch,” said club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Alonso arrived in Bayern for the 2014/15 season after playing for Liverpool and Real Madrid.
He was part of two historic Champions League title wins.
He played in Liverpool’s 2005 fight-back in Istanbul and was involved in Real Madrid’s 2014 triumph when they won ‘la Decima’ — the European Cup for the tenth time.
So far with Bayern, he has won two Bundesliga titles and one German Cup title with Bayern with the Bavarians currently dominating both competitions.
Alonso has won 16 titles for clubs and country, including the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European championships with Spain, making 114 international appearances.
He retired from international duty in August 2014.
Confirmation of Alonso’s retirement means the German giants will lose significant experience for next season.
Club captain and ex-Germany skipper Philipp Lahm has also confirmed he will hang up his boots in June.