Davies can lead Bayern to an even brighter future
Teenager just part of a team developing into an increasingly unstoppable machine after a sixth European Cup triumph
Ominously for their European rivals, and for their helpless cannon fodder in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich have created a dynasty that looks built to last. A combination of a resilient financial model, a dearth of debt and a scouting department astute enough to monopolise the finest young German talent ensures that a sixth European Cup triumph should be followed in short order by a seventh.
“It will be difficult for others to match us, because Bayern is well equipped for the future, even in this coronavirus crisis,” Uli Hoeness, the club’s former president, has argued.
As the red-and-white ticker tape settled on Bayern’s Champions League glory, sealed with the most cussed of wins over Paris St-Germain, you could take your pick of happy portents for their long-term success.
Take the scene, as the clock approached midnight, of Joshua Kimmich, David Alaba and Serge Gnabry gathering in the centre circle of a deserted Estadio da Luz to toast their achievement. Their ages: 25, 28 and 25. Together, they form the core of a team who can dominate continental competition every bit as ruthlessly as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid once did.
Look, too, at the substitute sent on by Hansi Flick against PSG when Jerome Boateng withdrew from central defence through injury. Niklas Sule is one of the most intimidating physical specimens the Bundesliga has produced, commanding set-pieces by virtue of his 6ft 5in frame and shoulders seemingly as wide as the Rhine. He is just 24, adding to the core of German players shoring up the supremacy of Bayern.
Perhaps the defining symbol, though, of the Bavarians’ restoration to Europe’s top table is 19-yearold Alphonso Davies. No sooner had he recovered from an early yellow card with a sequence of surging second-half runs than this prodigious left-back showed why, in the midst of the pandemic, Bayern were so desperate to extend his services until 2025.
Afterwards, the teenager gave a glimpse of his extraordinary poise off the pitch. “This is what you dream of as a kid,” Davies said. “Growing up in cool Edmonton, in Canada, and coming to win trophies with a great club like Bayern Munich is everything that you can ask for.”
Davies’s story did not originate in provincial Canada, however. He was born in a Ghanaian refugee camp, before his parents fled the depredations of the second Liberian civil war when he was five.
“My story goes to show that if you set your mind to it, you can do anything,” he said.
“I’m really happy that I’ve got theChampions League medal around my neck and the trophy by my side. We know that legends have won this title before. As a young kid, you want to keep that tradition going.”
Davies’s market value has been estimated by the International Centre for Sports Studies at £102 million, and that was before he played a pivotal role in Bayern’s first treble of trophies since 2013. The figure is purely hypothetical, given that the club would no sooner sell him than they would speak ill of Franz Beckenbauer. But it is testament
to the seamless operations at their Sabener Strasse headquarters that they acquired Davies from the Vancouver Whitecaps for just £13million in 2018. In a moment of great magnanimity, the Major League Soccer team released a video tribute yesterday to their former player, entitled: “Follow your dreams, kids.”
These days, Davies also forms one half of a European sporting couple, with his Canadian girlfriend, striker Jordyn Huitema, part of the PSG side who have just reached a Women’s Champions League semi-final in Bilbao. Come Sunday, they could be the first couple to win club football’s most coveted prize in the same season. The prediction made last November by Hoeness, that Davies would soon become “world class”, has borne the richest fruit.
Better still for Bayern, he is but one component of an increasingly unstoppable machine.
Sporting couple: Bayern’s Alphonso Davies with girlfriend Jordyn Huitema, of PSG