Thiago was 'close' to joining Man Utd

Thiago Alcantara’s father Mazinho, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994, says his son gave real consideration to the prospect of joining Manchester United before opting instead to move to Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Thiago was publicly pursued by United for several weeks and they had appeared certain to land the Spain Under-21 international until Bayern stepped in with an eleventh-hour bid.

And Mazinho confirmed to Catalan radio station La Xarxa: "Thiago was close to joining Manchester United and before the European Under-21 Championship there were conversations,"

The Brazilian insisted his son was delighted with his decision to join the reigning European champions, citing the prospect of more playing time as key to his decision to leave Barca.

"Thiago is very pleased, he’s extremely happy because all he wants is to play football," Mazinho added. "He made it clear that he wanted to leave and Barca accepted his decision.

"He knew it would be difficult to play at Barca, he wanted to be starting games because all he wants is to play. Because of the system they play and because the best players in the world play in his position, he knew it would be difficult,

"For Thiago there’s nothing more important than having a manager who has always shown faith in him, from the first moment. Guardiola has been very important in his life and that was vital in the decision to sign for Bayern."

When asked whether Thiago would have preferred to wait for the arrival of a new manager before leaving the club, had he known that a change of personnel was imminent, his father said: “Thiago’s ambition is to play in the World Cup in 2014 and the change in the dugout wouldn’t have changed anything.”