Spain World Cup hopeful Thiago Alcantara sustains knee injury
Thiago Alcantara, of 7/4 Champions League favourites Bayern Munich and Spain, could miss two months of actions with a knee injury, putting his participation at the World Cup finals in doubt.
Son of 1994 tournament winner (with Brazil) Mazinho, Thiago was born in Italy, but opted to represent Spain at international level, after coming through the ranks at Barcelona.
He sustained a partial ligament tear in his knee during Bundesliga champions Bayern’s 3-3 draw against Hoffenheim.
Munich took to Twitter to confirm Thiago will miss six to eight weeks of action, so that rules hum out of their Champions League quarter-final with Manchester United.
Pep Guardiola and his team are odds-on favourites to knock the Red Devils out of Europe at 1/8, and 4/9 to win the first leg at Old Trafford.
Bayern would also be without Thiago for the semi-finals of the elite continental club competition. At best, he will return on the final day of the Bundesliga campaign on May 10th.
Munich may have two further matches before their season ends thereafter, but that depends on them reaching both the DFB Pokal and Champions League finals.
It thus leaves Thiago with precious little time to regain match fitness and sharpness. Competition for a place in Spain boss Vicente del Bosque’s midfield is cut-throat, so this injury and recovery period may mean the player misses out on turning out at the World Cup in the land of his father.
Thiago’s injury will enhance the chances of his Bayern teammate Javi Martinez, and former Under-21 colleagues Isco and Asier Illarramendi (both now at Real Madrid), going to Brazil. Together with that latter pair, he tasted European Championship glory at youth level in Israel last summer.
Earlier in the campaign, Thiago missed two months of action with an ankle problem. He has made 25 appearances in all competitions for Munich this term, scoring two league goals.
World Cup holders Spain are 7/1 shots to retain their crown on South American soil, and win what would be a fourth successive major tournament. They have been drawn in Group B with fellow 2010 finalists the Netherlands, former colony Chile and Australia.
Del Bosque’s boys are odds-on favourites to top that pool at 4/6, and qualify for the knockout phase from it at 1/8.