“Thiago oder nichts“. Summer 2013: Pep Guardiola has worked like crazy to be at the level of his new club. His German is already very fluent and when a journalist asks him about the possibility of recruiting in midfield, the Catalan is full of praise the players present in this sector before admitting, despite everything, to having an ideal recruit in mind. “It will be Thiago or no one“, he answers in a press conference. It was Thiago and nothing else.
Summer 2020: Jürgen Klopp will prefer discretion to steal the Spaniard from the nose and beard of other European competitors the most classy environment on the continent, just crowned with a continental coronation in which he will have weighed heavily. “There are people who wondered about its compatibility with our football? Thank goodness these people have no decision making power“, the German recently welcomed, happy to be able to count on a player who has revolutionized the midfield of the Reds. Thiago therefore seduced Guardiola, before convincing Klopp. Nice CV.
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But why stop at these two? When drawing up the career route of number 6 of the Reds, we are almost dizzy as the list of modern references having crossed his path seems endless.
The successive coaches of Thiago Alcantara :
- Luis Enrique (Barca B)
- Pep Guardiola (Barca)
- Tito Vilanova then Jordi Roura (Barca)
- Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich)
- Carlo Ancelotti (Bayern Munich)
- Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich)
- Niko Kovac (Bayern Munich)
- Hansi Flick (Bayern Munich)
- Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
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The school of La Masia then that of German football
Modern, he has been since 2010 and his integration into Pep Guardiola’s Barça. When depriving the opponent of balls, his intrinsic technical quality quickly makes him an option to blow Xavi or Iniesta. From this Barcelona passage, he will remain imbued with the same obsession as his coach: to have the swelling at all costs.
Thiago Alcantara and Pep Guardiola (Bayern)
At a time when Spain dominates European football, Thiago is one of its most representative products, with positional play as an ideological framework and technical ease as a means of achieving it. But his time in Germany will succeed in making it even more complete. Paradoxically, hampered by injuries and a longer than expected acclimatization, it is not under Pep Guardiola that Thiago will give his full potential. But well with Carlo Ancelotti who decides to give him the keys to the game in his 4-2-3-1.
“Thiago is a friendwill not hesitate to say Carletto in September 2020 when he arrives in Liverpool. He’s a fantastic player, an exceptional midfielder. I had the chance in my career to coach very, very great players and Thiago is one of them.“Higher on the pitch, Thiago became more decisive and much more vertical, qualities that still serve him today. Above all, he witnessed the transition from possession football to transition football where intensity has become the cardinal notion of the game. .
“There can be no other opinion on Thiago”
Despite this big shift supposed to disadvantage him given his frail physique and a limited burst of speed, Niko Kovac and Hansi Flick will only strengthen Thiago’s power at Bayern. “He is a dream player for all coacheswill say the former coach of Monaco after their double in 2019. We have a lot of exceptional midfielders but he is really the nuclear heart of our midfield, a player who can do anything with a ball“.
Thiago Alcantara enjoys Bayern’s victory in the 2020 Champions League final
Credit: Getty Images
“When you see him on the pitch, you obviously see his fantastic quality with the ball. But he also proved that he knew how to defend. For me, there can’t be two opinions on Thiago. He is an exceptional player who gives a team that little something extra. That’s my opinion and there should be no others.“, will defend him even more frankly a Hansi Flick who installed him in a double pivot with Goretzka or Kimmich.
It is therefore Klopp who recovers a player shaped and pampered by other sacred monsters before him. If the first season, marred by injuries and sometimes folkloric compositions in the middle in view of the absences of the Reds, sometimes seemed painful, that crossed by the Spaniard resembles that of the advent. His contribution to Liverpool’s game is revolutionary: his hidden passes, his almost systematically oriented checks and his tempo have brought unprecedented patience and fluidity to the attacks of Mo Salah’s teammates.
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No doubt inspired by what he saw of Thiago under Flick, Klopp almost decided to use Thiago as a rear quarterback, with real control at the time of construction (90% successful passes this season) and an ultra- versatile to support him (Fabinho) in recovery. Undoubtedly pushed by the game of the Reds, the former Barça has also expanded his game, with more numerous and more intense races, definitively erasing the idea of the technically gifted who does not get his shorts dirty.
Asked this season about the duel Pep Guardiola – Jürgen Klopp, the number 6 of the Reds had not sought to decide, because, basically, the choice is impossible to make. “In fact, there are a lot of similarities between the twohe explained last November. The differences, you can see them also in the way their teams play. One has more possession while the other is wild yet in control“.
From Guardiola to Klopp via Ancelotti or Flick, he continued to learn. At 31, he is at the peak of his career, which he still hopes to fill with a third C1 this Saturday. No coincidence given the guy. Because if Thiago Alcantara ended up being the luckiest player of the 21st century with regard to the pedigree of his coaches, it is also because he managed to become one of the most complete.
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