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By ESPN Staff

Alonso unveiled to end Real spending spree

Xabi Alonso has been presented as a Real Madrid player after signing a five-year contract at the Bernabeu.

REAL MADRID'S SPENDING

• Cristiano Ronaldo - £80m

• Kaka - £56m

• Karim Benzema - £35m

• Xabi Alonso - £30m (TBC)

• Raul Albiol - £12.7m

• Alvaro Negredo - £4.2m

• Alvaro Arbeloa - £3.5m

• Esteban Granero - £3.4m

• Total: £224.8m

The Basque midfielder joins Madrid from Liverpool for around £30million and was unveiled at the stadium this evening after passing a medical. The midfielder is Madrid's eighth summer signing, taking the Primera Division giants' spending to over £220million in just two months. "It's a very happy day for me," said Alonso. "It's an important step in my career to come to a club like Real Madrid. "I'm very happy to be part of this club and I was very excited for this day to arrive. It's the best opportunity for me to develop as a footballer." The transfer sees Alonso return to Spain after five years away from his homeland. And, while he enjoyed his time on Merseyside, the former Real Sociedad player admitted he decided before the end of the season the time was right to move on. "I am very grateful to Liverpool fans, they were very warm during my five years," he continued. "It will be really difficult to match their appreciation. I really enjoyed those five years. "But a few months ago I took that decision as I thought it was the right moment to find a fresh challenge, to look for a new club. "That's when Real Madrid came along. Luckily a deal has been done and I'm very happy. It is a personal challenge I felt is necessary for my football career. "I felt it was right so I looked for a change, for a new experience, and when Madrid came in, that's when I decided to come back to Spain." Real's director general Jorge Valdano confirmed that the Spanish international would mark a change in focus for Los Blancos, who will now turn their attention to trimming the squad rather than adding to it. The capture of Alonso, who is not expected to be presented to fans until after Real's tour to North America, will bring the club's total outlay under returning president Florentino Perez to £224.8m and will be the final piece in the new galacticos jigsaw. "Xabi was a very important piece,'' he told Cadena Ser. "I'm delighted that what started six years ago has been completed now. He will immediately join the group and on Thursday he will talk to (coach Manuel) Pellegrini to see if he will go with the rest of the team to the USA. "This is a special season, we had to do unprecedented things. With Xabi we have closed the chapter of signings. Now we have to work on the exits of professionals who won't be here next season.'' Having spent huge amounts of cash to lure eight players - including Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema to the Bernabeu - Real have until the end of August to cut Manuel Pellegrini's squad back to 25 players. Midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and forwards Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Alvaro Negredo have been linked with interest from clubs in Germany, Italy and England. Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez promised fans he will get the "best replacement" for Alonso. "We would like to keep him but as soon as he told us that he wanted to leave we started working, looking for players and trying to do the best deal for the club," he told the club's website. "It has been too long, since May, that he told us he wanted to leave and after the official transfer request we were working very hard. The first idea was to keep him, and the second one was to find the best price and the best replacement for us." Not long after that, AS Roma confirmed that they had agreed a fee, believed to be around £20m for midfielder Alberto Aquilani with Liverpool.

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