2012/13 Spanish La Liga
A midfielder who was born in Italy, has a Brazilian father and plays for Spain, Thiago has been tipped to be the replacement for Xavi.
Starting his career in Brazil, he played youth football at Flamengo before moving to Spain and joining the Galician team Ureca in Nigran. Moving back forth between the countries, he finally settled in Barcelona (where his cousin Patrick was also playing) and joined La Masia in 2005.
Graduating from the academy, Thiago's skill on the ball set him apart from others and he was given his first-team debut in May 2009 at the age of 18. Slowly making his name as a useful squad player, he filled in the gaps in the hugely successful Barcelona side and signed a contract renewal keeping him at Barcelona until 2015, with a buyout clause of €30 million.
With Barcelona looking to rotate tired players, he was given more of a role in 2011-12 after helping Spain to win the European Under-21 Championship and should be a fixture in the squad for many years to come.
Strengths: Passing and composure on the ball, while he also has great vision.
Weaknesses: Strength and tackling ability are missing, while he is also not the most consistent player.
Career high: Winning the treble in 2010-11 with Barcelona, he also starred in the European Under-21 Championship where he scored a fine goal in the 2-0 win against Switzerland in the final.
Career low: He played two games in two years for the first-team after graduating from the B side.
Style: Technical, skilful, a visionary on the ball.
Quotes: "Thiago is a special player. He wants a career in this world and we're fortunate that we've produced another player in-house." Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.
Trivia: He is the son of the former Brazilian footballer and 1994 World Cup winner Mazinho
SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISIÓN