Thiago Alcantara set to retire from professional soccer after Liverpool exit

Thiago Alcantara's professional soccer career is over
-Credit: (Image: PAUL ELLIS/AFP)

Former Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara is set to retire from professional soccer.

The ex-Spain international, 33, has been plagued by injuries for over a year, making only a brief appearance during Liverpool's 2023/24 season, coming on as a late substitute in a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in February. Thiago underwent surgery in May 2023 in an attempt to regain fitness for the pre-season period last summer, but spent virtually the entire season on the sidelines.

Reports now suggest that midfielder is set to retire, ending a glittering career that saw him win more than 20 major honours with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Liverpool, including the FA Cup and League Cup with the Reds in 2022.

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Liverpool signed Thiago in September 2020, shortly after he helped Bayern lift the Champions League trophy in Portugal. While his talent was always clear, so were his injury issues. During his four-year stint with the Reds, Thiago made fewer than 100 appearances, with his last start for Liverpool coming in February 2023, in a 3-0 loss to Wolves at Molineux.

Thiago had to pull out from the squad that clinched the League Cup against Chelsea at Wembley in February 2022 due to an injury he sustained during the warm-up. He then needed pain-killing injections to participate in the Champions League final against Real Madrid three months later in Paris, after injuring himself again before the match started.

Following the announcement of his departure at the end of the season just before Jurgen Klopp's final pre-match press conference as manager in mid-May, Thiago spent the last month in the Maldives with his wife Julia and their children, contemplating his future.

There was interest from the Saudi Pro League last summer, and it was rumored the former Barcelona star might move to the Middle East for the twilight years of his illustrious career. However, it appears that Thiago has now chosen to hang up his boots, with a formal announcement expected shortly.

It's no shock that one of Liverpool's most successful periods in recent history coincided with the second half of the 2021/22 season when Thiago was fully fit and consistently available for selection by his manager. During a remarkable run from early January to late May, where Liverpool lost only two of 34 matches, accumulated 92 Premier League points, clinched a domestic cup double and advanced to the Champions League final, Thiago Alcantara enjoyed his most influential spell at Anfield.

He made 26 appearances and shone against top-tier teams like Manchester United, Everton, Villarreal and notably, Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. However, it was a source of frustration for Liverpool that Thiago had to resort to pain-killing injections in his toes to participate in the Champions League final against Real Madrid, capping off a gruelling 63-match season in Paris.