After spectacular season, soccer’s Alphonso Davies keen to improve, fight to get Canada into World Cup

One week before the new Bundesliga soccer season gets underway in Germany, Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies told reporters he’s working on getting even better for his Bayern Munich team, which last year captured the German league championship as well as the German cup and the UEFA Champions League title.

“Every time I step on the field, I give my all,” he told reporters on a Zoom call on Friday, adding he wants to improve on both his defensive play and his finishing. “[It’s been that way] from the beginning that I started playing as a left-back.

“Each game I just try to do my best.”

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READ MORE: Canadian Alphonso Davies caps ’20 season with Champions League title 

Davies’ best has everyone in the soccer world watching, especially on several magical plays in this year’s Champions League final against FC Barcelona, where the lightning fast 19-year-old took to the pitch to play against his childhood idol Lionel Messi.

“Obviously Messi is one of the best players in the world, if not the best player in the world,” the Edmonton-raised soccer player said. “Looking up to him when you’re young and now playing against him, it was very nerve-racking for me — especially when he would come up on my side, my heart would be beating faster and faster.

“Me going up against him was just a dream come true.”

Alphonso Davies of FC Bayern celebrates with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League final between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in Lisbon, Portugal, 23 August 2020.
Alphonso Davies of FC Bayern celebrates with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League final between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in Lisbon, Portugal, 23 August 2020. EPA/Miguel A. Lopes / POOL

READ MORE: Edmonton-raised Alphonso Davies shines in Bayern’s Champions League Barca beatdown 

Davies, who has transitioned from being a winger to a left-back, says he is still working to get better at his position, even though some have said he may be the best left-back on the planet right now.

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“You have to be vocal [as a left-back],” the teen said. “[As a left-back], I see most of the pitch and just try to direct my players and help them out.”

READ MORE: Edmonton-raised soccer star Alphonso Davies voted Bundesliga rookie of the year 

Davies’ speed on the pitch has mesmerized fans and he acknowledges it’s a big part of his game.

“I’m happy I can showcase it most games,” he said. “I’m just grateful to have [it].”

Davies said the massive success he and his teammates had this past season is still sinking in.

“I still can’t believe all this is happening,” he said, adding that coming to Germany to play for one of the world’s most respected soccer teams has helped him to elevate his game.

“When I first came to Germany… I knew the quality of players they have on this team,” he said. “I was just trying to prove myself, trying to show that I’m able to win at this level.”

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Davies said despite all the achievements, it’s also been a tough year in some ways with soccer and now the COVID-19 pandemic making it difficult to see his family in Canada.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I haven’t seen my family in I think about eight months now.

“Right now, I’m not sure when I’m going to go back.”

READ MORE: Edmonton-raised soccer star Alphonso Davies credits family for positive outlook 

Davies said he not only longs to see his family but also just to be back in Alberta’s capital.

“Obviously I grew up there — it’s home to me,” he said. “Being back would just be a great moment for me especially after everything that’s going on with my career.”

While it is not yet known when Canada will play its next World Cup qualifiers, Davies expressed confidence in the national side and sounded eager to try and bring Canada back to a tournament it hasn’t taken part in since 1986.

“I definitely see this team, the Canadian national team, definitely fighting for a spot in the 2022 World Cup,” he said. “I think we have great qualities on the team.

“It would be amazing for everyone, not just for the team, but for the whole country as well.”

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Before coming to Canada, Davies was born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled civil war in Liberia. Since then, he has been a vocal advocate for refugees and collaborated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise awareness about various issues.

READ MORE: Edmonton-raised soccer stars to play video game fundraiser in support of refugees 

“I’m happy to be part of the organization (UNHCR),” he said. “They helped me and my family immigrate to Canada and I just want to share my story with the world, and them being by my side is a good thing trying to spread awareness of what’s going on around the world with refugees.

“Given the opportunity, they can be something really special.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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