With Bayern Munich and Barcelona set to do battle in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Thiago Alcantara said Pep Guardiola’s departure from the Spanish giants influenced his decision to move to Germany.
Guardiola left Barcelona in 2011-12 to take a year-long sabbatical before taking charge of Bayern in June 2013, and prised Thiago to Munich within months of his arrival at Allianz Arena.
The pair are now preparing to face former club Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals at Camp Nou and 24-year-old Thiago said things could have been different had Guardiola prolonged his stay in Catalonia.
“Pep has always had a lot of faith in me, and me in him, so if he was still the coach then yes, probably,” Thiago told the Independent.
“But going over the past doesn’t help you with the future and I’m just lucky enough to be here now with him at Bayern.”
Now that Thiago is in Bavaria, the Spaniard will come up against former team-mate Lionel Messi.
And understandably, Thiago had nothing but praise for the Argentina captain.
“He’s playing deeper, and he’s scored 38 La Liga goals – you could play him in goal, and he would still score 25 a season,” said Thiago.
“He’s out of this world. But while it is fine to recognise that, and have respect for him, when you have him in front of you [you must] try to get the ball off him and play yourself.”