Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies has far too much on his plate to ever let success go to his head. - © DFL
Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies has far too much on his plate to ever let success go to his head. - © DFL

Alphonso Davies on fighting for his place at Bayern Munich and for the FIFA Ballon d’Or


Alphonso Davies says he would love to be a future Ballon d'Or contender, but not before rediscovering his best form for Bayern Munich.

Davies was one of the stars of Bayern's 2019/20 treble-winning campaign, but a combination of inevitable fatigue, the re-emergence of 2018 FIFA World Cup champion Lucas Hernandez and an ankle ligament injury that put him on the sidelines for almost two months have checked his progress in 2020/21.

The 20-year-old left-back has started seven of Bayern's last 10 Bundesliga games, though, and is confident he is nearing a return to his explosive best.

"There are highs and lows in every athlete's life," Davies told the Munich-based Tageszeitung after watching Bayern's 1-0 win at Hertha Berlin from the bench. "I was able to pinpoint that my ankle injury made it harder for me - but I'm on the right track. I'm getting better with every game.

"I also know that I have to look after my body even better than last year. That's the only way I can perform to the standard expected of us at Bayern, and live up to my own expectations.

"People say success goes to your head, but that's not the case with me. I have a lot of people around me who keep me grounded. There's no risk of me getting caught up in all the hype."

Watch: Alphonso Davies - Bayern's two-world star

That's probably just as well, given Davies' standing as one of the most-talked-about young players in world football today.

The former Vancouver Whitecaps prodigy ended his first full campaign at Bayern with 43 first-team appearances under his belt. As well as producing three goals and nine assists for the all-conquering treble winners, the electric Edmontonian clocked the Bundesliga's fastest sprint speed (22.7mph/ 36.53 kmph); claimed the Rookie of the Season Award; and became the first Canada international to win the UEFA Champions League.

He was also voted into the 2020 FIFA FifPro Best 11 alongside club-mates Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich and Robert Lewandowski, and scooped the Canadian Soccer Player and Athlete of the Year awards. Acquiring a 2021 FIFA Club World Cup winner's medal is next on his to-do list.

"We want to win every title we can, and winning the Club World Cup would cap a tremendous year for us," Davies said ahead of Bayern's Club World Cup semi-final against Egypt's Al-Ahly. "The Club World Cup won't be easy - it's another big challenge for us, but I'm really looking forward to it."

Watch: Alphonso Davies under the tactical microscope

Bayern head coach Hansi Flick's rotation policy points to at least one start for Davies at the Club World Cup in Qatar, assuming the record champions advance to the finals, where either Palmeiras or Tigres await.

The Canada international has started 14 of his 17 first-team outings so far this season, whilst being an unused substitute on a further four occasions. A fully-fit Hernandez is making for fierce competition on the left-hand side of the Bayern defence, but Davies welcomes the challenge.

"You can see the coach switches things up at left-back at lot, but that's his job. I'm just grateful when he picks me," he said.

"At the end of the day, it's about the success of the team. It's down to whoever plays on the day to give their all for that goal. If I can't support the team on the pitch, then I'll do it from the sidelines."

Davies (r.) is all for a spot of healthy competition with Bayern's other left-back, Lucas Hernandez (l.). - imago images

To achieve more minutes of the on-field variety, Davies knows exactly where he has to improve his game.

"I have to keep showing my hunger on a daily basis," he explained. "In matches, that means fighting for every ball. And in training, improving all the time.

"If an attacking player goes past me, I take it personally - and do not want that to happen under any circumstances. There are a lot of little details, but I keep telling myself: 'nothing is going to stop be from being in the 2021 FIFA Best XI'. Once you're named in the team, you want to stay there!"

Pressed on his long-term plans, Davies has set his sights on the Bayern captaincy - and even the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

"To be Bayern captain would be unbelievable, but I have a lot still to learn, I have to play consistently to a top level and improve my communication. I've learned a lot already in terms of being a leader, but there's still more - I'm working on it.

"I'd also like to be a Ballon d'Or contender (laughs). I think [Erling] Haaland will be in the mix, and I can also see Jadon Sancho being up there. And why not me? (laughs). There are always candidates from Bayern."