Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, Spain and Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcántara gave his thoughts on how the game has changed in recent years.

“It’s taken up a different pace, rhythm: more accelerated, more physical. 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.”

On the increase in intensity

“It’s something I’ve seen, especially in the national team. You get young players arriving who are quick, full of desire, well-prepared, very diligent. When I was 18, I would grab a coffee, sit, chat, and then five minutes before training put my boots on and go out. Now, 30, 45 minutes before, they’re in the gym preparing: mobility, strength work. Things evolve. We didn’t do that because no one explained it to us.”