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

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football -

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

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