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Jurgen Klopp's touching tribute to Thiago Alcantara ahead of ex-Liverpool star's retirement

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp greets Thiago Alcantara after he is substituted during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool FC at Villa Park on December 26, 2022 in Birmingham, England.
-Credit: (Image: Visionhaus/Getty Images)


Thiago Alcantara is calling time on his professional soccer career, just weeks after officially leaving Liverpool. Upon his departure from Anfield, Jurgen Klopp penned a touching tribute.

The duo ultimately left Liverpool at the same time, with Thiago having been there for a little under half of Klopp's reign. Whereas the manager decided to walk away, the midfielder failed to earn a new contract offer, having been more or less perpetually injured for his last 18 months at the club.

But even in the limited football he got to play, it was clear he is one of the most talented players to ever represent the club. He was a joy to watch at times, and he clearly earned massive respect from Klopp.

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"Before he even came to Liverpool I believed that if you really love football it would make a lot of sense if you watched Thiago Alcantara play," Klopp told the club site when it was announced that the Spaniard would be leaving.

"Technically, he is so, so good. A talent who could play in any team in the world and it was a privilege to have him with us. I already knew a lot about him as a footballer before he got here – what he did at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, how could you not? – and I could not have been happier when he decided to take on a new challenge with us.

"From that point on I got to see him up close and all I can say is 'Wow'. Most importantly, he was part of a new story and helped us develop as a team because of his special qualities."

Luka Modrić of Real Madrid CF is challenged by Thiago Alcántara of Liverpool FC during the UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, France.
Thiago is up there with the all-time great midfield technicians -Credit:Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images

Obviously, the narrative of Thiago's time at injury cannot be told without acknowledging the injuries. Klopp touched upon Thiago's fitness woes. "I know injuries have been a frustration for him and also for us," Klopp conceded.

"But the level that he was able to play at when he was available was incredible. This is what I will remember. Now he will go in a new direction with his family and we can only wish them well. Wherever he plays next I would be happy to watch. An artist of the game who will only ever paint the most beautiful pictures."

As it turns out, of course, Thiago won't be playing anywhere next, with his new direction more drastic than anyone had anticipated. But everyone will join Klopp in wishing him the best of luck with whatever comes next.

Liverpool.com says: All the best to Thiago in his next chapter. Clearly, he has all the resources to be an excellent coach, and we'll see if that's an avenue he wants to explore.

It must have been hard for him to retire, but his body let him down at Liverpool, even though all the technique was still there. As ever, it's impossible to say it better than Klopp, who summed it up perfectly.