'Thiago Alcantara will be one of the five top players in the world' – former Barcelona team-mate Ruben Rochina

The Blackburn man believes the Spanish midfielder will be amongst the elite in two to three years and rejects David Silva's claims that playing in England ruins national chances
EXCLUSIVE
By Rahul Bali

Ruben Rochina, the former Barcelona B striker, believes that Thiago Alcantara has all the essential qualities to be counted among the best in the world.

Alcantara, who was the stand-out performer for Spain in the Under-21 European Championships in the summer, has lived up to the billing with some fine displays for Barcelona this season, leading to the club handing him a new contract and inserting a buyout clause worth €90 million (£79m).

Rochina told Goal.com: “I played with him for at least four to five years in Barcelona and the [junior] national team. He is just amazing and I knew that one day he’ll play in the first team [at Barcelona].

“And that’s because he’s an unbelievable player. He is very, very good and within the next two to three years he will be one of the five top players in the world."

Last month Manchester City’s David Silva claimed his performances at club level had no bearing on securing a starting place for the national side. He suggested that his situation could have been different had he joined either Barcelona or Real Madrid instead of a Premier League team.

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque rubbished those claims and Rochina, who joined Blackburn earlier this year, believes that playing for any particular club does not guarantee a berth in the national squad.

“I don’t know if this is true. But I think it is not because the 11 best players for Spain are playing in Spain at this moment," the 20-year-old added.

“I don’t think that if you don’t play in Spain or play in other country, you don’t get a chance to play in the national team. It’s not true.”