Thiago Alcântara: Will Barcelona's Prodigy Fulfill His Promise of Attaining Greatness?
Comparisons with the best midfielders of today is an elevation for any young footballer but when such remarks come from Pep Guardiola then there must be something special about the lad. 20 year old prodigy, Thiago Alcântara do Nascimento has been hailed as being “better than Xavi and Iniesta at his age“.
Born in San Pietro Vernotico in the city of Bari, the Italian born Brazilian is the son of an ex-Seleção midfielder, Mazinho, who won 1994 FIFA World Cup and a Brazilian mother who is a volleyball player. One wonders why he represent Spain at international level when his parents are Brazilians. He explained,
“My dad’s Brazilian through and through but he’s resigned to the fact I’m playing for Spain. He can see that my career is progressing here and he understands that this is what’s best for me”.
He joined the famous La Masia academy at age 14 and he now seems ready to follow the footsteps of Pep Guardiola, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets to mention a few who have gone on to stamp their authority in the game and lead Barcelona to many successes.
The future is certainly looking bright for the young Alcântara, as he is gradually making inroads into the already talent-laden Barcelona first-team squad. On last campaign’s progression which was rewarded by winners’ medals in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. He said,
“It’s been a fantastic year. When you’re first called up to the first team you think you’ll just be making up the numbers for an easy game”.
Alcântara has got a bundle of talent embedded in him that it seems a forgone conclusion that, in a few years, he will be one of the best players in the world and for many years to come, if he keeps his head down of course, and keep working hard. He displayed this talent in the recent Under 21 European Championship, where he was the best player in the tournament and helped Spain to victory.
However, it’s very difficult for the young midfielder to succeed at Barcelona. Xavi Hernandez and Andrés Iniesta are the two best midfielders in the world. No matter how talented Thiago may be, there’s just no way the 20 year old can displace Xavi and Iniesta at the moment.
Pep Guardiola will have to give young Alcântara plenty of opportunities to prove his worth. Playing alongside Iniesta and Xavi is the best possible way for him to learn and develop till he becomes more influential and in the nearest future be one of the leaders of Barcelona’s midfield. It’s a similar path to Xavi and Iniesta’s before they became the players they are today.
The big question is, what happens to him if Cesc Fabregas arrives? This will definitely make life even more difficult for him, that is if he is not included in the deal to bring the Arsenal Captain back to the Camp Nou. If he remains in Barcelona however, and Fabregas joins the mix, , the competition will only make him stronger, if he’s got what we all feel he has in him. He’s got enormous talent and time on his side. Alcântara certainly knows all about pressure, having been in the spotlight from an early age thanks to Mazinho’s success.
“It’s not something that makes me nervous, I’m making my own name in the game, playing my own way, my dad has taught me the value of humility, respect and perseverance. It’s the best advice he’s given me, the best thing I’ve inherited.”
He might not be a regular starter, but he’s bound to play a role in Barcelona’s success. If all goes well, we’ll be seeing a lot of Thiago Alcântara during the next decade. After all, as Pep said, he’s even better than Xavi and Iniesta were at age 20. He’s sure to continue the tradition of great La Masia midfielders.
Thiago Alcântara may have started his journey to become a Cule Legend.
Watch out for him!