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Name Thiago Alcantara
Gender Male
Ethnic Spanish
Job Spanish Footballer
Desc You could drop Thiago into any midfield throughout history and he wouldn’t be out of place. Outside Bavaria, the Spaniard is arguably the most underrated player right now in world football

Affiliation

Org Spain National Team
Club as Player Bayern Munich
  Barcelona
  La Masia

Relationship

Father Mazinho
Coach Javier Lago

2015 05 09 Retrieve

[Thiago Alcantara on Lionel Messi] He’s spectacular, incredible, a competitive animal. He’s playing further from goal and he’s still scored 40 in the league. If he played in goal he’d score 25!

2018 09 25 Retrieve

[Thiago Alcantara on Football] Football’s always been cerebral. The most important thing is thinking fast. I have my personality, my style, but my development’s been about adapting. I’ve always wanted to learn in the areas where I’m most lacking

2018 10 10 Retrieve

[Thiago Alcantara recalls difficult decision to leave FC Barcelona] I have always wanted to play and since that wasn’t possible with Barça I had to leave to find the joy in playing football again. To me playing is more important than winning a trophy. In the end you always ask yourself, ‘To what extent I have contributed to the win?’

I will always be grateful to Barcelona, but I left because I didn’t want to be just one of the many. We, the players that were (working to make the first team), always had the dream to reach the first team and, once we get there, we want to play and know that we can become regulars.

When that’s not possible, it’s the moment you should leave. That’s what I did, leaving Barcelona was my decision. Returning to the Blaugrana? I am only focused on the current season, I am not thinking beyond that. The comparisons with Xavi and Iniesta.

2019 07 08 Retrieve

[Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has welcomed the prospect of Ousmane Dembele joining the Bundesliga champions from Barcelona] Dembele is a great player. But I am not the sporting director who decides if a player will be bought or not. As a football player and one who played against him I can say: ‘He is a very good footballer’. I would like to play with all the great players who would love to come to Bayern.

[Thiago acknowledges more changes will be necessary for Bayern to compete at the same level next term] It’s a radical change, many important players left the club. It can always be a complicated year if important players leave. That’s football. From my point of view, we have a great team. But, regarding the players who left, we will have to make reinforcements to achieve our goals next season

[The Spain international also praised £68 million signing Lucas Hernandez] He is a great player who really wanted to come to Bayern. I saw him at Atletico Madrid and the French national team. Physically, he is a machine, very strong! A very passionate player. He comes as a world champion with big experience. He is here to have some fantastic years

2019 07 20 Retrieve

[Bayern have just bid farewell to veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery and are thought to be in the market for a new wide-man. Thiago Alcantara took a different tone to his boss, claiming that a wide player of Gareth Bale’s quality would be welcomed with open arms] It’s pretty easy to say actually whether he would be welcome at Bayern Munich. We’ve just spoken about these three players: [Arjen] Robben, Franck Ribery and Gareth Bale. All three play mostly in the same position, on the wing. Players who are similar to [Bale], Robben and Ribery, have written part of the club’s history at Bayern and if somebody like Gareth Bale wants to come, then, as I said, every player who wants to join the club and who wants to support and help the club is more than welcome

2019 07 20b Retrieve

[Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara says he would welcome Gareth Bale to the club as rumours of the Welshman’s Real Madrid exit gather momentum] It’s very simple, for me, any top player who wants to come and play at a top club like Bayern Munich, who wants to contribute, they are welcome here. We will have the door open to you. Robben, Ribery and Bale play in similar positions on the field and we lost Robben and Ribery in our midfield, two historic members of this club. If Gareth Bale wants to come, any top player who wants to come here is welcome

2019 07 30 Retrieve

[When your father is a professional footballer, you quickly get used to moving from one place to the next and having to make new friends time and time again. It was no different for Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara] I have a collection of great memories from my childhood because I was with my brother all the time. We are very close and the difference in age was less than two years. He was my shadow and it was awesome. We had different great moments, playing in all the cities where my dad played after the games, at school playing with friends

[His performances did not go unnoticed elsewhere and he eventually ended up joining Barcelona at the tender age of 14, snubbing Real Madrid in the process] I was playing in a team in my hometown of Vigo. My mom didn’t allow me to play on my dad’s former team because my dad had some issues when he was a player. My mom didn’t allow me or my brother to go there. So we played in a team and my friends from school were there. We had a great season. We beat Real Madrid. We beat Celta. We beat Deportivo. We beat all the teams in Spain. One game when we played Barcelona, after the game, my dad said, ‘Thiago, I didn’t want to tell you before but they want you to be part of Barcelona next year. So what do you think?’. At that moment, you get shocked because Barcelona was a great team. Also at that time, he told me about Madrid and other great clubs. But my decision was very precise

[His move to Barcelona saw him team up with some of the best players around in his age category, but there was one youngster in particular that stood out] At that time, it was a guy from Israel who impressed me the most, Gai Assulin. He was my age and he was one step quicker than me, all the time. He reached the second team but then he didn’t reach the first team, and he was not consistent in the first division. At the end, he was playing in the second and third division in Spain. But he was the biggest talent that I saw at La Masia

[After impressing at Barcelona’s famed academy, Thiago eventually made the step up to the first team] As a professional, I’m not a guy who could get impressed with players, but I have a lot of respect for them. The amount of respect at that moment was, ‘Wow!’ You are excited to play against them, to learn with them, to fight with them. This is very exciting. But I always look at their behaviour, how they are on the field, how they are in the locker room. For me, that was more important. I have respect for a guy because of how he is, not because he’s a football player

[With players such as Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben having left the club, Thiago is now one of the more experienced heads at Bayern and he is looking forward to taking on the extra responsibility that comes with it] The players we have now have to take this role. Before, those legends were there. Very young people are coming, people with experience but also who are younger than us. We have to lead them in some way and, also, learn from them. It will be a great mix and we are very excited about it.

[Both Robben and Ribery completed a full decade at Bayern, but Thiago does not know just yet whether he could achieve the same] I’m just trying to enjoy this job, this passion that I have, to leave with this feeling every morning when I wake up. You have to keep going that way. In three years, you never know. I don’t want to make plans. I hate plans. Let’s live today and live tomorrow

2019 07 30b Retrieve

[Thiago Alcantara feels Pep Guardiola has only become better and more magical over time] I always make the comparison that the coach works like the players. When you put a player in a great team, he gets better and he makes all team-mates better as well. With the years, he got better as a coach, not just because of experience but he also got better players and he could do better things with them on the pitch. He got more magical, more experienced, more tactical, more everything

He was at the Under-16 practice. I was there with my team-mates, and he was just teaching us how to play a positional game. We were in training and he saw that two or three of us were a little bit different. He came with us and said, ‘What you did with the ball was great but try doing it this way’. You always take seriously what people with experience say to you. You could feel that he was very concerned about tactical things, technical things. You could see he was very good and he was Pep Guardiola, a former player. You just respect that and you have to learn from that. The passion and the commitment to this sport, I think, is the biggest thing he taught me. But at that time, you couldn’t tell that he would be fabulous in the future

[Bayern appointed Niko Kovac as their new head coach in 2018 after caretaker spells from Willy Sagnol and Jupp Heynckes] Niko’s a young trainer. He wants to win all the trophies possible with Bayern, to keep growing with the club. He’s doing a great job and we like him. Pep goes straight to the tapes and tries to explain how they’re opening spaces, why you’re doing things. Niko’s more direct with that. He wants to give you more freedom. He wants you to make your own decisions during the games

2019 10 12 Retrieve

[Thiago Alcantara expects to spend many more years at Bayern Munich] I feel as a part of the club, I can fully identify with this idea. A player can’t have as a motto: ‘I’ll play for 90 minutes, and that’s all I’m interested in’. I always say: FC Bayern is like a big house where everyone lives closely together under the same roof.

[Quizzed further on whether he could be sticking around for the foreseeable future] Both parties must make this decision. I feel fantastic, my family are very happy. The quality of life is incredibly good in Munich, so why not?

[Thiago believes there is still plenty left for him to achieve in Bavaria] Winning. That’s why I’m here, that’s what I play for. It was the same when I took to the pitch for my small home club: I compete to win. Of course it’s more fun if it’s a good game. But in my view sport is always about being better than your opponents. It’s a contest

Bayern are a big club with a central idea. That’s important. Take Ajax: they’ve had their own culture since Johan Cruyff. Barcelona adopted this philosophy with Cruyff, and both clubs have been living by this idea for many decades. Bayern represent a large family, that’s unique. And we’ve had a philosophy of our own for about a decade, similar to Barcelona and Ajax. We want to dictate the game with the ball. We should look for players according to this idea. It’s also important to consistently pursue it in the youth section

2019 11 03 Retrieve

[The father of Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara said the midfielder is more than happy at the Bundesliga giants] He is very happy. It is his seventh season, he has one and a half more to finish his contract. He is in a spectacular club, which has made him a great contract and has a great respect for players and former players. When I go there, I realise that it is something out of the ordinary

[Asked what move Thiago will make in the future] I do not know what will happen. I don’t know if he will want to return to Spain or be somewhere closer to us

2019 11 03b Retrieve

[The 28-year-old told Bayern’s official website in October that he felt committed to Bayern Munich and wasn’t experiencing an urge to move away] I feel as a part of the club, I can fully identify with this idea. A player can’t have as a motto: ‘I’ll play for 90 minutes, and that’s all I’m interested in’. I always say: FC Bayern is like a big house where everyone lives closely together under the same roof

[Quizzed further on whether he could be sticking around for the foreseeable future] Both parties must make this decision. I feel fantastic, my family are very happy. The quality of life is incredibly good in Munich, so why not?

2020 02 09 Retrieve

[Thiago Alcantara was frustrated by Bayern Munich’s display against RB Leipzig as they were held to a 0-0 home draw] We didn’t play the game that we had to play. We were playing at home and we have to win all of the games which we play here. We played very well in the first half but then we let it go and didn’t control the game. It’s not about attack or defence, it’s about the team and it’s a team game. The energy was not enough to be dominant in the game, we were not in our best mood in the game, that’s why we didn’t enjoy it. The good thing is each game depends on us. That’s a good thing. We work a lot to be in the place where we are right now but we have to improve a lot

2020 02 10 Retrieve

[Thiago Alcantara disappointed over Bayern Munich’s goalless draw against RB Leipzig] We didn’t play the game that we had to play. We were playing at home and we have to win all of the games which we play here. We played very well in the first half but then we let it go and didn’t control the game

It’s not about attack or defence, it’s about the team and it’s a team game. The energy was not enough to be dominant in the game, we were not in our best mood in the game, that’s why we didn’t enjoy it. The good thing is each game depends on us. That’s a good thing. We work a lot to be in the place where we are right now but we have to improve a lot

2020 02 24 Retrieve

[Bayern Munich feels like home for Thiago Alcantara despite being a product of Barcelona & Guardiola] My son is Bavarian. He was born here, so you do feel some ties and roots here. More than an international club, it’s a family club. You can move about easily here, be friends with everyone that works here at Sabenerstrasse. It makes it feel like home

Of all the coaches we had here, and Barca, he was the one with the most intensity, most concentration. You had the same tension training as playing. You’re attuned to learn and hone your game. With other coaches, training sessions can be a bit more light-hearted, but with Pep it’s always concentration.

My style is not only because of Barca. There is also the Brazilian idea of a pivot. Barca gives you the philosophy to understand the game of Barca. The rest, you pick up along the way. For me, there are so many variations in football. It’s not necessarily about controlling the game. It’s about controlling your action.

It’s that your actions are well-coached, and executed in the best manner possible, against the opposition. That’s control. If it’s a long ball, it has to be in a controlled manner. You dominate a rival through execution. You do every play with the goal in view. That, to me, is control – that everything you have trained comes off

2020 03 13 Tweet

[Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara slams the DFL for not suspending games despite coronavirus] This is crazy. Please stop fooling around and land on reality. Let’s be honest, there are much more important priorities than any sport

2020 04 07 Retrieve

[Thiago Alcantara talks about life during the coronavirus pandemic] First of all, here in Germany, we’re allowed to go to the parks and forests to run and walk. That has been a good point for us, for the sports guys, that we can maintain our body, working and running

[He also described Bayern’s cyber-training sessions] But also, the club made something amazing, like a video chat with all the team and the trainers. We can have really good at-home training sessions with them.

Looking at it in the sporting way, we run, we bike and then we do all the strength training, mobility, stretching - all the functional training we can do. But also, I think it’s about adapting to the situation, adapting to this strange situation with family and friends

[He described the social aspect of Bayern’s cyber-training] We’ve mostly been staying in touch with these video chats and trainings. We have five or 10 minutes before or after where we talk with each other. It’s nice to see they’re good, having a good time. But we also by call each other regularly, for sure

[Asked what he is doing to stay sharp] So, I’m watching old games-not just from our team, but from other teams-and making reviews from our tactics and preparing for when football comes back

[Thiago stressed that he wants to be ready when the season eventually resumes, even if the games are held in empty stadiums] Even if we don’t play in front of a crowd, which is very important for us, even then we must be ready. I think that’s the biggest objective, to be prepared for it. For me now, I’m focused on that

[He focused on the uncertainty of the situation rather than the stress of being home] For me, it’s more the uncertainty than stress at the moment. You’re not stressed because you’re at home with the people you love. You’re just uncertain about when everything starts again

2020 04 09 Retrieve

[Thiago Alcantara says Bayern Munich were able to refresh ourselves and start from zero in 2020] When you stop in December, you have time to look back with a lot of perspective at the things you did wrong, but also the things you did well. So, I think we had that time to prepare ourselves for the start of the league, refresh ourselves and start from zero. I think that was the point. We started from zero with no regrets from before. I think it was awesome.

It was a really nice goal – I think one of the most beautiful ones I’ve scored in my life. But at the moment when you’re playing, you’re so focused, so into it that you just try to do the things that in the moment, in less than one second, you think you have to do

2020 04 17 Retrieve

[Thiago Alcântara joins football stars Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Jamie Carragher to call on the Maltese public to stay at home during these very delicate times in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19] I have never been to Malta so far. Certainly, I would love to come and visit the country and my message to all the people of Malta is to stay safe, stay at home and remain Malta together in this fight against the coronavirus

[During the interview, Alcantara also speaks of the work carried out by his foundation in Spain] Normally, we’re focused on helping children, but since the start of this pandemic we have made ourselves available to help the healthcare system in Spain. We have provided help to hospitals in Girona, Madrid, Vigo and other cities but now we have focused on the main hospital in Barcelona. We are providing them with all the equipment and masks needed in this fight. Also our foundation is doing some work with UNICEF where we are entertaining by doing exercises with them to ensure people do not get bored and can fight this disease in a positive spirit

2020 05 04 Retrieve

[Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara says Coutinho is a phenomenon] I know him well, he’s very good. I’ve seen him play since he was 12 years old. I played against him in Brazil at football sala and I loved him. He lacks nothing. I like to play with players at a top level and he’s a phenomenon. He’s a great guy, really hard working, with unbeatable technique and incredible finishing. Players go through good moments and some not so good ones and he brings us a lot. We hope he’s here next season too.

[Thiago said when asked if he sees himself finishing at Bayern] That’s a difficult question. A lot of things would have to come together. I would have to remain at my level. Maybe the club will suddenly look for a new player in my position. But it would be wonderful to end my career at this club

2020 05 11 Retrieve

[Thiago is still hopeful that the Barca outcast will remain at the Allianz Stadium though, having been impressed by the impact he’s had over the past 10 months] Coutinho lacks nothing. I like to play with players at a top level and he’s a phenomenon. He’s a great guy, really hard working, with unbeatable technique and incredible finishing. Players go through good moments and some not so good ones and he brings us a lot. We hope he’s here next season too