Thiago: Spain has 23 leaders

Thiago Alcantara has played down the significance of wearing the armband for Spain, affirming that the Under-21s are a team of leaders on the pitch.

The Barcelona midfielder has captained La Rojita to the final of the UEFA Under-21 Championship this summer in Israel, but has moved to make clear that he is not a character to dominate his peers.

“There is no hierarchy, there is no leader. Here there are 23 leaders,” Thiago told reporters this week.

“From experience, I know a little more than most at the competition, but that does not mean that each player does not provide a particular leadership.

“Everyone says what he thinks, in the field there are those that shout and people have the freedom to do so.

“We express ourselves with football. I look to my characteristics to assist the team in the best way I can.

“I am very clear in my game, that I want to play and I do not have to reaffirm that anywhere.

“I’m focused on being here with people who love playing football and are enjoying it. So far that is what we are doing.”

Spain are preparing for tomorrow night’s competition final as favourites to retain their 2011 title.

“We have fought hard to get to the final, I think we have played these four games with the highest intensity possible, whilst it is true that against Norway we ended the game more tired than before. We have days to recover and to look forward with ambition.

“Our style of play? The team has already had its way of playing, as it is with all the categories, with the Under-17s or Under-19s, the style is the same, we play the same.

“Everything comes together and makes for a good harmony.

“We value what we can achieve. People are eating, sleeping and training thinking to play every minute of the Euros and a final is a final. People want to win is, we know that the Euros are big.

“La Rojita has given me much, in all the Euros that I have played, to reach the final and when you win, it is a great reward and if you lose then you suffer a lot.

“This cycle [for me in the Under-21s] will close very well, regardless of whether we win or lose, because I have been able to play with some great players.”

Spain’s opponents in midweek are Devis Mangia’s Italy, who defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in their semi-final.

“The strongest thing about them is their aggression. We shall look for the flaws that they may possess and we will attack them. The Netherlands played a very similar way to Spain, but each national team has its style and that is the case with Italy.

“Can we read more into them have celebrated more the goal and the win, than we did? It is true that the end of a game is completely different when you score right at the death.

“It is also true that we got to the end of our game with a good difference in the scoreline. I think we were more relaxed and celebrated that way.”

Tags 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship La Rojita Spain Thiago Under-21s