Thiago: I am not Pep's darling

The midfielder dismissed suggestions that he receives a favourable treatment, while he feels he still has room for improvement following his return from injury

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has insisted that Pep Guardiola does not give him any special treatment because of their time together at Barcelona.

The 24-year-old made his first-team debut at the Catalans under Guardiola in 2009, before the successful coach lured him to Munich in the summer of 2013.

“Of course, Pep and I have known each other for a long time and know what to expect from each other,” Thiago told Sport Bild.

“But I have never liked it when people say I am Pep Guardiola’s darling. This is simply not true. We have 25 players and the coach can count on all of us.

“Of course, his calls during my recovery from injury were very important to me. They motivated me. He is a great coach and I am very grateful to him.”

The Spain international mised the final weeks of last season and the opening months of the current campaign due to injury and a further setback delayed his return even further, but he has been in fine form in th eight games he has played since recovering, although he has made it clear that he is not at his best just yet.

“I never had any doubts that I would return. I was desperate to make my comeback and I endured a difficult year.

“I am back on the pitch again and that’s the only thing that matters now.

“I am by no means at 100 per cent yet. I am on the right track, though.”