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Thiago Alcantara is a Spanish soccer player who plays as a central midfielder for Liverpool and Spain. Thiago is regarded as one of the best deep-lying playmakers in the modern game due to his range of passing, combined with his agility and technique. He is also versatile having spent the 2016/17 season as an attacking midfielder at Bayern Munich. Thiago boasted the best passing accuracy (90.2%) in the Bundesliga and was included in the Bundesliga Team of the Season for the 2016/17 campaign.
Thiago started his professional career at Barcelona B before he made the step up to Barcelona's senior team in 2009. He secured a move to Bayern Munich in 2013 where he stayed for seven years. The midfielder's final season at Bayern was his most successful on a personal level as he was part of the UEFA Champions League Team of the Season for 2019/20 and was voted eighth in the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award. In September 2020, Thiago sealed a move to Liverpool for £20million with further potential of £5million in add-ons.
Arriving at Anfield
Thiago, who cemented himself as one of the best midfielders in world soccer from his time at Bayern Munich, has received a huge amount of praise from his manager Jurgen Klopp. "There are very special things he has that separates him from others in world football," Klopp said. "His vision is exceptional, pair that with pretty good technical skills, and a nice passing ability and these kind of things, and you become a really interesting package. That's what Thiago is."
Thiago and Bayern Munich
In Thiago's last season, Bayern completed a European treble. The German club beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the 2020 UEFA Champions League final, with Thiago playing 86 minutes of the game before being substituted. He won his seventh consecutive Bundesliga title, alongside his fourth DFB-Pokal trophy, as Bayern beat Bayer Leverkusen in the final.
Thiago and Barcelona
Thiago was at Barcelona for four years and made 68 appearances, scoring seven goals. In May 2009, Thiago made his debut for Barca at the age of 18 against RCD Mallorca. His first goal for the club came in February 2010, where he replaced Yaya Toure as a substitute and scored in a 4-0 victory against Racing de Santander. During his time at Barcelona, Thiago won seven trophies with the Spanish side including two La Liga titles and one Copa del Rey. He also won the 2011 UEFA Champions League with the club, but was an unused substitute in the final against Manchester United.
Since his senior career began at Barca, Thiago had two huge injuries which hampered his growth at the club. In September 2009, he suffered from a knee problem which kept him out of the side for nine games. As he was becoming more involved in the starting line-up, in October 2020, he tore the internal collateral ligament in his right knee. This kept him out for a further 11 games. Unfortunately for Thiago, he was competing for the same position with Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who were part of the 'golden generation' which brought huge success to Barcelona. Alongside Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta became almost irreplaceable which resulted in him finding himself on the bench for the majority of his Barcelona career.
On the international stage
Thiago's youth career for Spain was one of huge success. He was an ever-present figure in the squad which won the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship - scoring the second goal and receiving the man of the match award in a 2-0 victory against Switzerland in the final. In June 2013, Thiago scored his only career hat-trick in the final against Italy as Spain took their fourth title with a 4-2 win.
Thiago signed a four-year contract with Liverpool in September 2020. According to Sportekz, he earns £210,000 a week, with his base salary accumulating to £10million. The deal makes him the second-highest paid player at Liverpool - behind Mohamed Salah. Thiago's net worth is reportedly $23.9million.