SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 01: Thiago Alcantara of Spain looks on during the Switzerland Training Session ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 Quarter Final match between Spain and Switzerland at Petrovski Stadium on July 01, 2021 in Saint Petersburg, Russia (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo - UEFA)

Journalist explains why Thiago’s international career may be over

Thiago has not been called up by Spain manager Luis Enrique since a minimal role at the Euros, with the Liverpool midfielder’s international career likely over.

It is a strange situation from an outside perspective, with Thiago still one of the best midfielders in the world but unable to earn recognition with Spain.

The 31-year-old’s injuries certainly do not help, but when fit, it seems a no-brainer to include him as part of a midfield group that includes teenagers Gavi and Pedri and a 34-year-old Sergio Busquets.

That is clearly not the view of the Spain manager, however, with Thiago not joining Enrique’s squad since the Euros in the summer of 2021.

Thiago only played 64 minutes at the tournament, and has since missed six consecutive international breaks either due to his omission or injury.

Spain suffered a 2-1 defeat to Switzerland on Saturday evening, as a side including a number of players who are no longer regulars for their clubs fell to goals from Manuel Akanji and Breel Embolo.

A loss led to questions over Enrique’s approach, but as explained by The Athletic‘s Dermot Corrigan, he is unlikely to change his stance on players left out such as Thiago.

Corrigan explains that Enrique has “decided [certain players] do not fit with what he wants,” specifically noting that “no matter how much Thiago creates for Liverpool,” he is unlikely to be recalled.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 12, 2022: Liverpool's Thiago Alcântara during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and AFC Ajax. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That, it is claimed, is due to the No. 6 not “fitting the all-action style that [Enrique] demands, with the emphasis on covering lots of ground and playing at top speed.”

Whether that is true is questionable, given Thiago thrives in Jurgen Klopp‘s high-tempo system, but it cannot be seen as anything other than a positive for Liverpool.

James Milner has extended his career to age-defying lengths after retiring from England duty at 30, and though their bodies are clearly different, the hope will be that Thiago can benefit from similar.

It may not be his own decision to ‘retire’, rather one enforced by the current Spain manager, but it seems as though Thiago will not be called up as long as Enrique remains in the job.

For the short term, that means Thiago will miss the mid-season World Cup, instead spending time off with his family before heading to Dubai for warm-weather training and friendlies with the Reds.