Azulgrana RoundUp, Week 15

Azulgrana RoundUp, Week 15

Thiago Alcántara makes In Bed With Maradona's list of Top 100 best young players in the world and Sergio Busquets is interviewed by El Mundo Deportivo

• Thiago Alántara - Top 100

In Bed With Maradona singles out the best 100 young players in the world in their yearly list simply titled: The 100. It’s not surprising to see players like Xherdan Shaqiri, Neymar, Iker Muniain or Isco on the list, nor is it to see FC Barcelona’s Thiago Alcántara.

This is the second time Thiago’s made it on In Bed With Maradona’s Top 100. Last year, the website declared the Blaugrana was “the attacking midfielder’s attacking midfielder,” a player capable of breaking into “the match-day squad of the greatest teams in the history of the game.”

However, this year hasn’t been as kind to Thiago as far as fitness goes. He sustained a serious injury at the end of the 2011/12 season that kept him away from the Olympics in London and then, once recovered with the 2012/13 season in full swing, he picked up another injury. “So a difficult few months,” notes In Bed With Maradona, “but he will have learnt an enormous amount about himself during the time spent on the treatment table.” The website adds: “As huge a talent as he is, there is very little arrogance or entitlement on show from what we can see. He remains the player we talked so excitedly of last year despite a slightly stunted 12 months and the expectations are just as high.”

Looking ahead to the second half of the 2012/13 season, In Bed With Maradona concludes: “This year he has taken being a marked man in his stride and grown accordingly. Thiago is one of the biggest talents on this list just as he was on last year’s, get used to him, he’s going to be around the highest level of the game for a long time to come."

Read In Bed With Maradona’s entry on Thiago Alcántara in its entirety here.

• El Mundo Deportivo (MD) interviews Sergio Busquets

The Catalan sports daily El Mundo Deportivo sat down with Sergio Busquets before FC Barcelona’s match against Atlético Madrid (4-1) on Sunday. The midfielder, who apparently prefers to steer clear of interviews - “much less when a photographer present,” noted MD (“that’s for Piqué!” joked Busquets) - likes to make his point clear on the football pitch instead of in front of a camera. Nonetheless Barça’s holding midfielder acquiesced to the interview.

“I’m the same player, with the same qualities I had when started,” said Busquets when asked how he’s changed since he made his debut for the first team, “however, I think I’m a more complete player now because I’ve gained experience ... You learn when you play and train alongside such fantastic footballers.

The Catalan was then asked about Barça’s nearly perfect run in La Liga. The midfielder said: “We expect to fight for all the titles every season, but it’s true that we didn’t expect such a good start in La Liga, it’s a historic start that no other team has been able to match.” He added: “We didn’t doubt that things would go well. If there was one manager that we all wanted, it was Tito because the project would have continuity ... He knows all of us, it was the best decision.”

On the FC Barcelona manager, Busquets went on to say: “He’s the same person in private and in public, he’s very close to us, he knows what each one of us can give. He was very clear from the very start, both in private talks and in group discussions, we’re very pleased with him.”

Read El Mundo Deportivo’s interview with Busquets in its entirety here.

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