Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara says he “hates modern football” because of VAR and the lack of “magic” from individual players.
Though generally applied successfully at Euro 2020, the use of video technology has caused controversy throughout club football, especially in the Premier League, with long delays until decisions are made and a clinical, microscopic approach to offside calls.
Thiago is currently on international duty at the European Championships with Spain and the 30-year-old has revealed he’s always been against the use of VAR and that it is contributing toward ruining the game.
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“I have that ‘hate modern football’ mentality; I’m more classic in attitude. And then there’s VAR, which I’ve always opposed. It removes the essence, the picaresque,” he said.
“We make mistakes when we play, referees have to make mistakes, too. Lots of mythical moments wouldn’t exist [with VAR]. And when you score, even a brilliant goal from the halfway line, you’re waiting. Thinking: ‘I hope there isn’t a foul in the build-up, I hope there’s no offside, I hope’.”
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As well as VAR, Thiago believes football’s shift to a more physically intense and faster game is taking away the moments of “magic” and “fantasy” that often used to light up the biggest occasions.
“It’s taken up a different pace, rhythm: more accelerated, more physical,” he added.
“The figure of the No. 10 has almost disappeared. We see less magic, less fantasy. Footballers do more but faster. There’s no need to dribble because you run.
“Players are more developed in every sense. You lose that player who’s different, who ‘breathes’; the playmaker who was slower even if he had sublime technique doesn’t get the opportunity to turn.
“Those of us who are not so fast with our legs have to be faster in our heads. It’s like anything in life: adaptation. Things keep moving. Football changes constantly, expressed differently.”
Thiago’s Spain drew 0-0 with Sweden in their Euro 2020 opener and face Poland next on Saturday evening.