LONDON, December 16 – Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara revealed David de Gea wrote him a message in a bid to convince him to join Manchester United in 2013.
Thiago is a product of the famed Barcelona youth academy La Masia, but left the Catalans in 2013, and was part of the Spain team that won the Under-21 European Championship in the same year alongside De Gea.
The 24-year-old says the United goalkeeper left a message for him on the matchball after the final, but added he was only ever going to end up at Bayern.
“David De Gea wanted me to join [Man United],” Thiago told the Daily Mail. “He wrote a message on my match ball after we’d beaten Italy in the final [of the 2013 U21 Euro].
“But I’d have done the same with him. He is one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world. You always want to play with the best. But it was always going to be Munich.”
Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola was in charge at Barca when Thiago was coming through the youth ranks, but the midfielder admits his biggest influence was his father Mazinho, a World Cup winner with Brazil.
“[My father] is everything to me. Ronaldinho is my favourite player, Pep has been huge in my development but, without my father, there would be nothing,” he explained.
“I remember playing when I was a child. The other fathers would be on the touchline shouting, screaming. But my father would just sit and watch and afterwards he would say something small. A little bit of advice but nothing more.
“Whenever I got a chance to watch him train, I never missed it. He was my idol. I knew how a footballer should be on the pitch and I knew how he should be at home.”