Thiago Alcantara’s performance against Manchester United at Anfield drew some football pundits to echo his name in the same realms of all-time greatest midfielders that the game has ever seen.
But a naïve comparison to Arsenal’s midfield maestro Cesc Fabregas on THE BIG 6IX podcast on YouTube didn’t sit well with the Premier League fanatics, especially the Gunners’ fans.
Despite an age difference of three years between Cesc and Thiago, the netizens still believe that Cesc is clear and the debate shouldn’t even exist.
When Cesc started playing for Arsenal back in the 2003/04 season, Thiago was still coming to terms with his footballing abilities with Flamengo. It was in 2005 that Barcelona spotted Thiago and took him in.
During the same era, Cesc had started showing his class with Arsenal, going toe to toe with the likes of Thierry Henry, making him an indispensable weapon for Arsene Wenger, and even reached the Champions League final of 2006 where the Gunners despite leading lost to Barcelona.
But the premise was set. Cesc was set for greatness. From 2007 to 2009, Cesc racked up 25 goals and a whopping 45 assists in the hotbed of the Premier League leaving no doubt about his playmaking abilities. While Thiago was still struggling to get into Barcelona’s first team. Cesc’s pace along with his goal-scoring capacity kept him in the class of Premier League elites.
So when Cesc made the move to Barcelona in 2011, he was bound to succeed. But at this juncture, the Spanish giants were also witnessing Thiago’s growth and his stupendous qualities as a playmaker. Even though Thiago could not score as many goals as Cesc, he still posed a threat in the midfield and was touted as a replacement for Barcelona’s legend, Xavi.
This was the beginning for Thiago while Cesc was operating at his pinnacle. Even during the time, Cesc stayed at Barcelona, he made 36 assists in three seasons in Spain’s La Liga, given that the midfield trio of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Sergio Busquets, the holy trinity were effectively active.
While Thiago’s departure from Barcelona to Bayern Munich promised some fireworks but his numbers compared to Cesc were significantly low. Thiago made 11 assists from 2015 to 2018 in the Bundesliga while missing out on Champions League finals multiple times.
Thiago won the Bundesliga seven times while Cesc had to return to Premier League and lift the title with Chelsea despite his prior allegiances and stupendous performances for Arsenal. But Cesc has one arrow in his quiver that Thiago doesn’t – The World Cup. Despite playing for the same nation, Spain, Cesc has been more consistent for his country.
“Thiago, without any doubt, has got fantastic qualities. He started very young at Barcelona, I played with him for a year,” Cesc has nothing but admiration for his compatriot and encourages him to perform consistently with the national team as well.
The bigger picture when it comes to statistics is that Cesc wins the race. We can debate all day long about their abilities as a midfielder or a football player but remember this, Cesc played in a tougher Premier League era while Thiago with all his genius abilities sees passes through narrow boxes for Liverpool, has just started to feel the heat of English football.
Here’s the Twitter reaction to the debate –