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Sergio Gómez | 10/11/2012
Madrid are in the process of negotiating a new contract for their linchpin, Xabi Alonso. The man from Tolosa, in the Basque country is set to reach the end of his current deal on the 30th June 2014 (he signed in 2009 for five seasons) and the club is in talks with his agent Iñaki Ibáñez to extend that for two more seasons. That would keep Xabi at Madrid until 2016, when he'll be 34. In January, the midfielder will have 18 months left on his contract; it's at that stage that Madrid usually look to secure a renewal if a player is a part of the club's plans going forward. In January, Xabi would be legally free to commit to another club. Madrid have got to work already to avoid this happening.
There's optimism amongst Bernabéu staff: "If Xabi wants to stay here, he'll stay. He's loved." Loved and valued, as the club showed a year ago when his deal was improved, without his asking, by a million euros a year (he went from wages of 3.5 million to 4.5 million), as a reward for his performances. The player is happy with his relationship with Madrid and he sees himself in a condition to continue for at least two more years in the engine room of the team.
At 30 years old (on the 25th of this month he turns 31), Xabi Alonso is a mature presence in the dressing-room. Mourinho considers him a pillar of the side and wants to make sure he stays: this campaign he's played 1,281 minutes, behind Iker (1,440'), Cristiano (1,414') and Ramos (1,350'). If the match against Zaragoza showed anything it was that the number '14' is still vital. But his effect goes beyond the pitch. Xabi is a leader and a symbol for the fans. And as an example of that, we can look to the a recent AS.com poll, in which 83% of readers said they would renew his deal.