If you follow Barcelona or the Bundesliga at all, then you’ve probably heard about the revelation that is Thiago Alcantara. Currently playing for Bayern, Thiago has been running riot in Germany in his first season under Carlo Ancelotti. Brought up through the Barcelona youth academy under Pep Guardiola, Thiago was sold to Bayern after Guardiola left Catalunya for Bavaria. He never received much playing time due to the overcrowding in the midfield that included Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Muller and Lahm, Thiago has finally gotten his opportunity to take over as Bayern’s biggest contributor. Now with Bayern comfortably owning the Bundesliga again and Barcelona looking up at their rivals Real Madrid, one can only think, did selling Thiago in 2013, cost them the title in 2017?
Ever since his debut in 2009 for the Blaugrana, Pep Guardiola was always very big on the young Spaniard. Thiago was tipped for Barca stardom due to Pep’s wonderous record with young talent such as Pedro, Pique and of course, Lionel Messi. Thiago took part in the trophy fest that Guardiola was bringing to Barca but received little playing time in his early years. Barcelona, not just Pep, were also very high on the midfielder, stamping a 90m Euros price tag on the player but Guardiola was able to bring him to Munich for around 25m Euros after the little playing time that the Brazilian received. Guardiola was so fixed on bringing the Spaniard to Germany that he told the Bayern board “I want Thiago. He is the only player I want. It’ll be him or no one.” Coming to a world class club that just triumphed over Europe, Thiago struggled to find playing time for Bayern, as well as sustaining an injury that kept him out for almost all of 2014. His playing time was steadily rising under Pep Guardiola as Thiago was set to be the next heir in that unstoppable Bayern machine, partnering him with experienced fellow Spaniard, Xabi Alonso. Pep has since moved on to Manchester City from Bayern, but Thiago remains in Germany, using the skills that were mentored to him by the legendary manager.
From Phenom to Phenomenon
This has been Thiago’s first season as a professional footballer, to not play under Pep Guardiola, and it appears that Pep left Thiago in good faith. Thiago has had his best season to date under new manager Carlo Ancelotti, as well as this being the most playing time he’s gotten in a single season with 32 appearances in all competitions for the club. Just about to hit 26 years old, Thiago is entering the prime years of his career which means he is beginning to find his full potential, just at the perfect time. Thiago has a staggering 7 Man of the Matches for Bayern this season and owns an overall rating of 8.09 overall and a rating of 8.33 in the league according to Whoscored.com. Only two players on the planet own a better league rating then Thiago, and they both currently play for Barcelona (Neymar and Messi). Thiago’s rating tops the likes of 2017 PFA winning Eden Hazard, Luis Suarez and the entire team of Arsenal that is Alexis Sanchez.
Thiago is Exactly What Barca Needs
Once thought to be the heir for Xavi Hernandez, those hopes were dashed away when he was sold to Bayern and Ivan Rakitic was brought in from Sevilla to be Xavi’s heir. Now with Andres Iniesta appearing to be entering his final couple seasons with the Catalan giants, Barcelona brought in Andre Gomes to be Iniesta’s heir, but this hasn’t gone to plan. Gomes has been rather anonymous on the pitch with each start that he receives and an earlier row in the season with Rakitic and Lucho makes the midfield a very unstable part of the pitch for Barca. In need of a technical, intelligent and creative midfielder to feed the ruthless attacking trident at the top for the Blaugrana, their best fit for the job, resides in Munich. For now.