Wednesday, May 25, 2016 6:08 am
Nigeria’s loss is Austria’s gain as David Alaba has become one of Europe’s most versatile and accomplished players.
Alaba is still only 23 yet seems to have been around for ages, having made his debuts for both Bayern Munich and Austria as a 17-year-old.
Born in Vienna to a Nigerian father, who is a disc-jockey, and a Filipino mother, the left-footed Alaba initially contemplated playing for the Super Eagles but says he was never approached by them.
Austria were more than happy for him to play for them, however, and it is no coincidence that since Alaba has become a regular presence they have improved markedly.
An outstanding passer, good tackler and free-kick specialist, he is already the team captain, with 44 appearances and 11 goals under his belt.
In terms of medals, he is one of Austria’s most successful-ever players, having won four Bundesliga and one Champions League titles.
For Bayern, he played as a left back under Louis van Gaal and Jupp Heynckes, while Pep Guardiola has played him in several different roles, including advanced left back. He has even played as an improvised centre back.
Austria prefer him on the left of the midfield, in front of the defence, where he can orchestrate the team with a style and authority which belie his youth