Thiago Alcântara is the leader of the pack at the European Under-21 Championship.
The 22-year-old half-Brazilian soccer player, Spain’s Under-21 captain and reported Manchester United target, has been named player of the tournament for the European Under-21 Championships in Israel.
Alcântara, a midfielder for Futbol Club Barcelona, was instrumental 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 teammates, including Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, Manchester City and Real Madrid target Isco and Golden Boot winner Alvaro Morata.