Thiago Alcántara today became the latest star name to be unveiled by FC Bayern München in front of an excited press room at the German Bundesliga club's Säbener Strasse headquarters.
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder, who last month captained Spain to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship title and scored a stunning hat-trick in the final against Italy, joins the treble winners for €25m from FC Barcelona.
"Munich is a fantastic city with a certain flair to it. It's bubbling over with excitement for FC Bayern," said the playmaker, whose contract runs until the summer of 2017, of his new destination.
When asked whether or not Josep Guardiola had played a role in the transfer, Bayern's new No6 responded: "I am a huge fan of the way he likes to play football. Of course Pep had a part in my decision to join Bayern. We all know what kind of manager Pep is. I played for him in my youth at Barcelona and I've not met a manager comparable to him since. He has put a lot of trust in me and I am really grateful to him for that."
It seems beyond comprehension that this Bayern squad will not be celebrating further success next year. Many commentators have even hailed the arrival of Thiago – who has three senior Spain caps and made 68 Liga appearances for Barça – as the last piece in the puzzle of "the best squad ever".
For Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Thiago's addition will help the European champions reach their ambitious goals for the upcoming campaign. "There's a lot of competition in the squad but that's what we want," he said. "We won the treble and we don't want to go through what we did in 2002, when we followed our Champions League triumph with a title-less season."
And so the boy who was born in Italy, grew up in Spain and whose father – Mazinho – is a former Brazilian FIFA World Cup winner, now starts his new chapter in Munich. "I was happy in Barcelona, it was my home but I wanted a new challenge," Thiago declared.
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