Football will be a difficult gap to fill for Alonso
Xabi Alonso conceded he was a bundle of emotions as he brought down the curtain on a glittering playing career during Bayern Munich's 4-1 win over Freiburg.
The Bundesliga champions bode farewell to Alonso and captain Philipp Lahm at the end of yet another triumphant campaign.
Lahm is a celebrated one-club man at Bayern but Alonso has starred for Real Sociedad, Liverpool and Real Madrid, while also claiming Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and World Cup glory with Spain.
"I'm very satisfied to close my time as footballer," the cultured midfielder told reporters.
"Inside there is a lot of emotion. There were moments [in the game] I was about to break.
"The sensation I had was a mix of emotion, nostalgia, melancholy and sadness, but at the same time happiness, it's a lot of stuff and I don't know how to process it.
"I accept I am going to miss playing because it's such an important part in my life. It's going to be difficult to fill that gap. Life goes on. New challenges for me, it's time to try it.
"It's a beautiful feeling. These memories will stay in our mind forever. I remember playing with my dad, and my kids will remember this as well."
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) May 20, 2017
Lahm's retirement in particular suggests the end of a cycle for the Bayern side that sprung to prominence with their 2012-13 treble triumph but Alonso believes seasoned professionals such as Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller will continue to flourish alongside young guns like Joshua Kimmich under boss Carlo Ancelotti.
"The future is good, the future is bright. Even with two big players leaving the club, they shouldn't have problems," he added.
"There are still players in the team with experience and still young. For sure we are going to see Bayern next year fighting for everything."