Alonso slams De Jong challenge
Former Liverpool star Xabi Alonso has branded Nigel de Jong's World Cup final kung-fu kick as one of the worst tackles he has ever been on the wrong end of.
Even De Jong accepts he was fortunate not to be sent off by referee Howard Webb after catching Alonso with an awful first-half tackle which saw he Holland midfielder plant his studs into the Real Madrid man's chest and leave him needing treatment before he was able to continue.
"It was one of the worst tackles I have ever suffered," said Alonso. "It was a tight game, there was respect from both sides and they had to close us down. But that challenge was really hard. It was one of the most painful tackles in my life and it was hard to play on. I have probably broken a rib, although I am not too worried about that."
Reigning European champions Spain have now become the third side, after West Germany and France, to hold both tournaments at the same time.
No country has ever managed three on the trot, which will be Spain's task in two years' time at Euro 2012. They have already been installed as the bookmakers' favourites to complete a memorable hat-trick.
Alonso accepts there is plenty of work ahead of his team-mates before then but the raw talent is certainly there.
"Right now is not the time to think about the future, but of course the basics are there with this team," he said.
"The style is there, the mentality is there and the team spirit is there.
"If we keep working in this way many more big things may come."
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