Europe news

Thiago named Under-21 MVP

June 22, 2013
By ESPN staff

Spain Under-21 captain and reported Manchester United target Thiago Alcantara has been named player of the tournament for the European Under-21 Championships in Israel.

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The Barcelona midfielder, 22, was influential throughout La Rojita's victorious campaign and hit a first half hat-trick in the 4-2 final win against Italy.

A statement on UEFA's official website read: "As captain of the title winners, Thiago displayed leadership qualities on and off the pitch and, throughout the tournament, was an influential figure in his team's performance with impressive box-to-box work; exceptional ball control even in the tightest of situations; ability to dictate the tempo of play; intelligent ball-winning based on anticipation rather than tackling; and outstanding playmaking skills based on a wide variety of short and long passing.

"His three goals in the final represented a unique individual achievement and reward for his contributions to his team's success."

Thiago is free to leave the Camp Nou this summer if his release clause of €18 million is met and is being trailed by United and their Premier League rivals Chelsea.

He was also named in the 23-man squad of the tournament, alongside 10 of his Spain team-mates, including Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, Manchester City and Real Madrid target Isco and Golden Boot winner Alvaro Morata.