Coach Pep Guardiola once said “or Thiago Alcantara or nothing” when he expressed his determination to recruit the midfielder from Barcelona in the summer of 2013. Despite Pep’s high praise, the 28-year-old Spanish star had not yet had a place in the hearts of Bayern fans and fans in Germany.
Thiago Alcantara – The untimely star
When talking to reporters or fans in Munich, you will not take long to find someone who judges that: Thiago Alcantara is an expensive player, but not worth being trusted in big matches. At Bayern, there are many whispers that they will sell the Spanish player to make room for young star Kai Havertz of Leverkusen.
Bayern in particular, German football, in general, has not appreciated the midfield model like Thiago. If not a rich midfielder attack, they also prefer the midfielder running and rushing defensively. Whenever winning a match, midfielders like Thiago are often ignored. When losing, they were criticized for “not seeing the face”.
Thiago Alcantara‘s career at Bayern is not in tune with the club’s tactical development. He was very favored by Coach Guardiola but often stopped playing due to injuries in the first two seasons at Bayern. Thiago Alcantara made a bold impression in the 2015/16 season, but it was Pep’s last time at the Allianz Arena.
Then, under coach Carlo Ancelotti and Niko Kovac, Thiago was almost marginalized by tactical differences. At that time, Bayern was no longer a “rebel team” like Pep time.
Thiago’s role was only reexamined briefly when Bayern was led by Jupp Heynckes in 2018. He played great as a midfielder in the Real 2-2 draw in the Champions League semi-final second leg. League. Things are getting better for Thiago now, as he has been used since the arrival of Hans-Dieter Flick. But, it is still far from saying that German football fans recognize the value of Thiago Alcantara.
Is Thiago really faint?
In a Kicker poll earlier this year, Thiago Alcantara wasn’t even on the list of the best Bundesliga central midfielders. Meanwhile, this list has a number of mediocre or even unfamiliar players with many fans, such as Charles Aranguiz (Leverkusen), Josuha Guilavogui (Wolfsburg), Omar Mascarell (Schalke), Denis Zakaria (M’gladbach) or Diego Demme (RB Leipzig). Of course, Thiago is also not on the list of the best-attacking midfielders in Germany of this prestigious newspaper.
Of course, Germans have their reasons. If considered a defensive midfielder, Thiago Alcantara is not the type of interception player, constantly chasing opponents to steal the ball. And if classified as an attacking midfielder, Thiago is not enough to convince people in the ability to support the strikers or directly score.
It seems that Thiago’s “unlucky” play has fooled viewers, including experts or sports journalists in Germany. In fact, the defense is not bad, even very good. Thiago is the 9th player in the Bundesliga this season in terms of tackling. It is a very impressive achievement for a midfielder like him. Among the better defensive players Thiago, there are 6 full-backs!
Without the ball, Thiago Alcantara is still very effective. When the ball, the strongest point that people know about him, the Spanish midfielder is also excellent. He is not a midfielder who creates dozens of opportunities for the strikers. He is the bridge between the downline and the attack system. Thiago is the second most prolific passer in the third of Bayern’s opponents in the Bundesliga this season, only behind David Alaba.
Another special ability that everyone knows about Thiago is that he is very good at controlling the ball. Statistics firm Smarterscout rated the Spaniard to 90/99 in this ability, only inferior to Axel Witsel (Dortmund) and Rodri (Manchester City) in Europe’s top 5 biggest leagues.
Thiago Alcantara will turn 29 on April 11, but his position has not changed much since Guardiola bought Bayern seven years ago. In addition to subjective factors, the reason is also that German fans simply do not realize his value!
227. Thiago Alcantara has played 227 matches in all competitions after 7 years with Bayern and scored 31 goals. This season alone, he made 32 appearances and scored 3 goals.
The Bayern players admire Thiago Alcantara
Perhaps many spectators and experts do not realize the value of Thiago Alcantara Alcantara (right), but his teammates are not so. A young Bayern player, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Athletic: “The thing I enjoyed most about every training session was watching Thiago perform dribbling and handling techniques during warm-up.” Meanwhile, also from The Athletic sources, many Bayern players have acknowledged Thiago as “the best player in the team. But he should have done better when he was in a competition. ”
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