Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara has revealed he had other options last season when he decided he was leaving Bayern Munich.
Thiago decided to head for a new challenge last summer and completed an initial £20m move to Anfield, which could rise to £25m with add-ons.
The 29-year-old penned a four-year deal after deciding not to sign a contract extension in Bavaria.
With 12 months left on his contract he was a player in demand and a number of clubs across Europe were looking at the classy midfielder.
Former Barcelona man Thiago though plumped for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, despite having offers to return to LaLiga.
And in bumper interview with AS looking ahead to to the Champions League meetings between Liverpool and Real Madrid, Thiago was asked about his move.
Thiago told AS (via Sport Witness): “I had options to return, but it was clear to me. Leaving Bayern was to be able to live the experience of the Premier League, a very competitive league.
“When I got the call from the coach and the club, it was an easy decision to choose the destination, but it was difficult to choose if I really wanted to leave Bayern. In the end it happened and I am very happy.”
Thiago’s time in Merseyside has been far from straight forward. He tested positive for Covid-19 in his first month in England and then suffered a knee injury in October, which sidelined him until December.
He has then been partly blamed in some quarters for Liverpool’s poor form. It has led to Jamie Carragher and Reds boss Klopp to stand and defend Thiago.
Carragher, in his Daily Telegraph column, insisted Thiago ws the right player, but “has found himself at Anfield at the wrong time”.
While, Klopp was more forthright and labelled the talk “b*******”.
“It’s just a public perception. ‘Oh, Thiago is in and we don’t perform well anymore.’ These kind of things are just b*******, let me say it like that! They are just not right,” said Klopp.
“Everybody needs time to adapt. Bayern played a different style, in a different league, and were much more dominant in the Bundesliga than any team can be in the Premier League.”
Thiago has yet to play in front of any supporters for his new club and the Italy-born star says that has been difficult.
“It is a change of country, club, stadium and you have the expectation not only of seeing the fans in the stadium, and it will be beautiful to see Anfield full, but also the experience of learning day by day about this new country,” Thiago said.
“For footballers like us, football loses much of its essence without people in the stands. We are competing with empty stadiums and we have had to relearn because since we were little we have played with people, with screaming parents.
“We knew how to do it and we were used to playing with people supporting us and even if it’s people against us. Now we have got used to playing without the public, but we miss so much that there is a little yearning every day that there are people in the stadiums.”
Sergio Ramos rivalry
Thiago will line up against Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos in a two-legged Champions League quarter-final next month. But first the pair will be team-mates for Spain.
“It’s great to play with Sergio. The years go by and you keep learning from him, he keeps evolving, he still wants to compete, his main feature is this ambition, this struggle and he passes it on to us in the national team and we can learn from a guy who with so much success and with so much recognition in football still wants more,” Thiago said of Ramos.
“I love having Sergio in the national team as a partner and when we are rivals, then he will be my rival.
“We have received the match with all the respect in the world, with respect for a knockout of a Champions League quarter-final, wanting to be able to play the matches.
“It is a wonderful competition, against a fantastic team. We face Real Madrid with the respect we owe.”