David Alaba earlier this week added three more years on to his contract at Bayern Munich, keeping the Austrian in Bavaria up until 2018 and possibly longer – but just how important is this for Bayern?
Alaba is somewhat of an un-sung hero in the Munich side, and his dynamic and innovative play puts him up there with the best young players in the world.
Although the Austrian plays as a full-back for Pep Guardiola’s Bayern side, his role is much more complicated than a left-back role.
Guardiola’s trust in Alaba’s quality and fitness levels means he covers pretty much the whole pitch – his pace and acceleration allow him to get forward quickly and support the Bayern attacks.
His role for Munich illustrates just how dominant this Munich side is. Their confidence and determination when going forward means that nearly their whole team play more advanced roles than their expected position roles.
When watching Bayern you will often see Alaba ahead of the left winger; usually Franck Ribery when fit and rushing to the bi-line to cross the ball in to the forwards.
Although plenty of left-backs do venture forward, Alaba supports every attack, providing Bayern with options, his versatility is superb and if called up on Alaba could surely play a more advanced role in the team.
Alaba did this week devote himself to the Bundesliga champions by signing a new contract, but his commitment on the pitch also highlights his devotion to Munich.
His energy levels are among the best in football and allows him to be all over the pitch, but his defending is always on point too and is often the saviour for Bayern at the back, if anything does go wrong in footballing paradise.
He will also often have a say in set-pieces. Alaba will sometimes take free-kicks for Bayern and sometimes even penalties, even though it is not often his contribution will only enhance his CV.
A set-piece specialist isn't usually associated with the left-back position, bar Leighton Baines, but Alaba certainly is just that.
His new contract, although it was expected means that the 21-year-old Austrian can continue to develop as a player in Munich and should eventually turn in to one of the worlds most prodigious, rousing yet reliable left-backs.
Alaba is a player that Bayern do require, if they are to continue to monopolise Europe. His role is slightly different to most left-backs and in a dominant side his role is perfect, which is why he is so well suited for this authoritative Bayern side.
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