TORONTO, Canada—A little less than two years ago, a 17-year-old Canadian scored two MLS goals for the Vancouver Whitecaps against the Portland Timbers. It was his last match before making a move to one of the top football clubs in the world.
Since signing for Bayern Munich, the wonder-boy that is Alphonso Davies has taken the world by storm. The kid that was once making headlines in the MLS as the second youngest player to take the pitch, has gone on to cause a real threat to world-beating clubs that face the Bavarian side.
It is very arguable that Davies could be called the best player from the CONCACAF region, which makes his UEFA Champions League encounter with Barcelona on Friday afternoon even more spicy, as the 19-year-old will face the challenge of facing six-time Ballon D’or winner Lionel Messi down the right flank.
In an interview with UEFA.com, Davies mentioned that the opportunity to face Messi is a dream come true.
“Growing up, I used to watch him all the time and now I’m defending against him; it’s going to be a whole different ball game,” said the young Canadian fullback. “But for me, it’s just playing my game, changing nothing on my side and just hopefully doing my best against him. We know that he’s a great player—we’re not going to take that away from him—so the best you can do is try, I guess.”
If Davies does try to approach Bayern’s biggest match of the season just like he has been in 2020, the Canadian prodigy should be ready to put up a fight with the world’s best.
This is something that Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge feels very confident about, offering some very kind words for the Canadian.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: "Alphonso played a great season and was deservedly voted young player of the year. If Messi plays on his side, Alphonso will take care of him. It's a difficult but interesting task. Alphonso hasn't been outpaced or dribbled past often this season" [Sky] pic.twitter.com/Q4ojpDzxRK— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) August 13, 2020
It may not be smart for Ruminigge to call out Lionel Messi, but it does show the massive amount of trust placed on the youngster’s shoulders to deal with such a task.
In his first full year in the Bundesliga, Davies has been one of the first names on the team sheet for Manager Hans-Dieter Flick since the German was promoted from assistant coach to manager in November. For his outstanding breakthrough, Davies was awarded the Bundesliga Rookie of the Year award.
Sifting Focus to the Argentinian, Lionel Messi has scored three and assisted three goals for FC Barcelona up until this point in the UCL. With this being a stand alone, do-or-die match with no second leg, there is a chance we see Barcelona press harder than usual.
Both Barcelona and Bayern enter Friday’s quarter-final having won five Champions Leagues total. Lionel Messi has won four. This feisty encounter in Lisbon will be the first time the two sides will meet competitively since the 2014-15 season when Bayern was knocked out in the semifinals to a Barça team who won the final in Berlin.
Will Phonzie be able to hold off the world’s best? They go head-to-head today at 3 p.m. EST.