Full Name: Thiago Alcantara
Team: FC Barcelona
Position: Center Midfielder
Birth Date: April 11, 1991
Birth Place: San Pietro Vernotico, Italy
Height: 5 ft 7 in
The Italian, born to a Brazilian father (Brazilian 1994 World Cup winner Mazinho), that chose to play for Spain, is a genius in the making. He started playing at the age of five in the youth system of Flamengo in Brazil before moving to Spain to continue his footballing education. At the age of ten he returned to the Brazilian club where he stayed for four years before signing for FC Barcelona.
His patience at FC Barcelona, having worked all the way through the youth ranks at La Masia has begun to pay off as he has combined his innate Brazilian flair for the audacious with a Spanish appreciation for the simple play. This unique combination has created a dynamic player who can play in a deep lying playmaker position, or right behind the center forward. He is a playmaker first, but is not afraid to shoot from distance, his vision for through balls is exquisite and his work rate off of the ball is something that he has learned over the years from his colleagues.
The twenty-two year old has earned comparisons to Xavi with his accuracy and eye for the killer pass. But in truth, his play is one part Xavi’s reliability and another part Iniesta’s creativity and dribbling, a truly exciting prospect for fans of La Roja and FC Barcelona. He is a U17 and U21 European Champion and is the captain of the current U21 side. Thiago has already been capped for the senior national side and will likely be the next midfield general for Vicente del Bosque’s side when Xavi chooses to retire from international play. With FC Barcelona he has two UEFA Champions League titles and four La Liga titles, a trophy cabinet that will only get bigger as this young star continues to develop as a player.
It is curious to note that Thiago’s cousin, Rodrigo, played with Real Madrid’s youth system and now is a prolific scorer for La Rojita and with Portuguese club Benfica, his brother, Rafinha is currently a member of FC Barcelona B and will likely be with the first team starting in the 2013/14 season.