Thiago Alcantara Profile
|Born||Apr 11, 1991|
|Birthplace||San Pietro Vernotico, Italy|
Thiago Alcantara has had a sterling club career with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Liverpool. While also starring on the international stage for Spain, he's one of the best midfielders around.
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 joined Liverpool in September 2020 on a four-year contract. Due to him only having one year left on his contract at Bayern Munich, Liverpool managed to purchase him for a relatively reasonable fee. He made his Liverpool debut against Chelsea in the Premier League, coming on at half time in a 2-0 victory. Making 75 successful passes, Thiago recorded the most completed passes by a player in a half of Premier League football since Opta started producing passing statistics in 2003. His playing time has been limited due to a knee injury which he suffered in the Merseyside Derby in October, which led to Richarlison being sent off.
After seven successful seasons at Bayern, the Spaniard made the tough decision to leave the Bavarian club because he wanted to progress as a footballer. "My decision is purely sports related," Thiago said. "As a football player, I want and I need new challenges in order to develop myself as I did here."
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
Thiago made his Bayern debut in July 2013, in a 4-2 defeat against Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup. He grabbed his first Bundesliga goal in January 2014, as his scissor-kicked winner against VfB Stuttgart was voted as the Goal of Month. However, his debut season was cut short as a knee ligament injury sustained against Hoffenheim put him on the sidelines for over a year. The 2016/17 season was a standout campaign for Thiago as he scored nine goals and nine assists, as the club secured a domestic double. He was rewarded with a new four-year deal in April 2018.
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.
He made his senior debut for Spain against Italy in a friendly in August 2011. His first competitive game for his national side came in September 2011 in a EURO 2012 qualifying match against Liechtenstein. However, injuries have blighted Thiago's senior career for Spain so far. He missed the Euro 2012 and the 2012 Olympics in London due to injury. Thiago was part of the initial 30-man provisional squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, however, a ligament injury meant he had to withdraw from the squad. His first goal for Spain arrived against Albania in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017.
Thiago made his World Cup debut in 2018 in Russia, where he played against Portugal and Morocco. He was an unused substitute in Spain's round of 16 penalty shootout defeat to Russia.
Thiago has been in a relationship with Julia Vigas since 2012, with Vigas following the midfielder to Germany a year later. The pair got married in June 2015 and have son, Gabriel, and daughter Siena together. Thiago was born into football royalty as he is the son of former Brazilian footballer and 1994 World Cup winner Mazinho. When his father was at Valencia, Thiago used to watch him train when he was just three years old. His mother, Valeria Alcantara, was a former Brazilian volleyball player.
Thiago's younger brother Rafinha is also a soccer player who plays for Paris Saint-Germain but opted to play for the Brazilian national team. The two brothers came through the ranks at Barcelona, at the famous La Masia academy, with Rafinha also playing in central midfield. Mazinho confessed that Paris Saint-Germain tried to sign Thiago in the 2020 summer transfer window but ended up signing Rafinha.
Thiago possesses dual citizenship: he has Brazilian citizenship alongside his Spanish citizenship. He has lived in Spain since he was five years old, following his father's move to Celta Vigo.
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.