Thiago Alcantara set to retire from football after Liverpool exit

PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images
-Credit: (Image: PAUL ELLIS/AFP)

Former Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has decided to retire from football at the age of 33.

The one-time Spain international has struggled with injuries for well over a year and played just five minutes of Liverpool's 23/24 campaign, as a late substitute in a 3-1 loss at Arsenal in February.

Thiago underwent surgery in early May of 2023 in an effort to help get himself up to the speed for the pre-season period of last summer but spent virtually the entirety of the campaign sidelined.

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The midfielder will now call time on a decorated career that saw him win over 20 major honours with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Liverpool, which included the FA Cup and League Cup with the Reds in 2022.

Liverpool signed Thiago in September of 2020 for an initial £20m just weeks after he had helped Bayern win the Champions League in Portugal but while the gifted former Spain international's quality was always evident, so too were the injury troubles.

Across four years with the Reds, Thiago featured less than 100 times and his last start as a Liverpool player came in February of 2023, in a 3-0 defeat to Wolves at Molinuex.

Thiago was forced to withdraw from the team that won the League Cup against Chelsea at Wembley in February of 2022 after picking up an injury in the warm-up and he required pain-killing injections to get through the Champions League final against Real Madrid three months later in Paris after again hurting himself prior to kick-off.

Having had his end-of-season departure announced just before Jurgen Klopp's final pre-match conference as manager in mid-May, Thiago spent last month in the Maldives with his wife Julia and their children while weighing up his next move.

Interest from the Saudi Pro League was present last summer and it had been speculated that the one-time Barca star would move to the Middle East for the last few years of a glittering career.

However, it looks as though Thiago has now decided to retire from football with a formal statement expected imminently.

It's no surprise that one of the most flourishing periods for Liverpool in recent years was during the second half of the 2021/22 campaign when Thiago was fully fit and available to his manager on a consistent basis.

As the Reds lost just two of 34 games between early January and late May - during a run that saw them rack up 92 Premier League points while winning a domestic cup double and marching to the Champions League final - Thiago was able to boast the most influential period of his Anfield tenure to date as he turned out 26 times and starred against the likes of Manchester United, Everton, Villarreal and, perhaps most notably, Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

The fact Thiago was made to take some pain-killing injections in his toes just to be part of the Champions League final to Real Madrid at the end of that 63-fixture marathon was a frustrating aspect for Liverpool in Paris.