Currently joint-leading the assist charts in the Champions League alongside Stefan Johansen of Celtic, it’s often other members of the imperious Bayern Munich side that take the headlines, however Thiago Alcântara’s influence on the German Champions cannot be under-estimated as his recent performances in the Champions League have shown.
Hand-picked by boss Pep Guardiola to join Bayern during 2013, Guardiola reportedly said to the press prior to the signing: ‘He is the only player I want. It’ll be him or no one.’
There’s plenty reasons why Pep, and other top teams would want Thiago Alcântara in their midfield. An extremely intelligent footballer, Thiago is best deployed in the centre of midfield, although he is very capable of fulfilling both an attacking midfield role or a deeper, more defensive role, if need be.
Blessed with unrivalled technique, Alcântara is often lauded by Bayern fans for his quick feet and skilful control of the ball. With an uncanny way of reading the game, he can effectively shield the defense and read opposition passes whilst still contributing well to the offensive play.
At 24, Alcântara still has a lot of maturing to do in his role, and we can see Thiago get better and better as long as Guardiola is in charge, and he keeps getting his run in the team.
Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm, masters in their roles, will have an abundance of knowledge in playing deep, and picking the right pass and Thiago is blessed to be in the same team as them and being able to learn from them. That’s not to forget Pep Guardiola, a former centre-defensive midfielder himself, he will also have crucial advice for Thiago should he decide if thats the position in the middle for him.
Alcântara comes from a footballing family, Thiago is the cousin of Valencia striker – Rodrigo, the brother of Barcelona youngster Rafinha and son of the 1994 World Cup winner Mazinho, so there’s experience of the game at home too.
Given that Thiago has the perfect environment to nurture his undeniable talent, it’s possible that we could see a world class midfielder in him sooner rather than later, and he could become even more of an asset to Spain and Bayern Munich than he already is.