Thiago Alcantara on modern football: “We see less magic, less fantasy”

Thiago Alcantara is undoubtedly one of the most talented footballers in the modern game. The Liverpool midfielder could be in line to start for La Roja this evening when they face Poland at La Cartuja in Euro 2020, having started from the bench on Monday evening. In an interview with The Guardian, he touched on his feelings about the state of his sport.

“It’s taken up a different pace, rhythm; more accelerated, more physical,” he said. “The figure of the number ten has almost disappeared. We see less magic, less fantasy. Footballers do more but faster. There’s no need to dribble because you run. Players are more developed in every sense.

“You lose that player who’s different, who breathes; the playmaker who was slower even if he had sublime technique doesn’t get the opportunity to turn. Those of us who are not so fast with our legs have to be faster in our heads. It’s like anything in life; adaptation. Things keep moving. Football changes constantly, expressed differently.

“It’s something I’ve seen, especially in the national team. You get young players arrive who are quick, full of desire, well-prepared, very diligent. When I was 18, I would grab a coffee, sit, chat, and then five minutes before training put my boots on and go out. Now, 30, 45 minutes before, they’re in the gym preparing; mobility, strength work. Things evolve. We didn’t do that because no one explained it to us.”

Thiago came on in the second half of Spain’s clash with Sweden, bringing calm and quality but unable to pick the lock on a Swedish side operating with a strict 4-4-2 low block as the game finished scoreless. Luis Enrique instead opted for Rodri to sit at the base of midfield with Koke to one side and Pedri to the other.

Thiago joined Liverpool last summer after a hugely successful stint at Bayern Munich, whom he joined from Barcelona, where he broke through. Despite having Brazilian parents the midfielder has spent most of his life in Spain, and for him it was a no-brainer to decide to represent the Spanish national team.

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