Thiago Alcantara has described Philippe Coutinho as a phenomenon and hopes the Barcelona-owned Brazil attacker extends his stay at Bayern Munich beyond the summer.
Coutinho joined Bayern on a season-long loan deal from Barca last summer, and whilst he hasn't started every week, there have been fits and spurts of the Brazilian's genius, with his eight goals and six assists coming in at a rate of one every 99 minutes.
The attacking midfielder's best performance so far came on Matchday 15. Trailing Werder Bremen 1-0 after Milot Rashica's opener at the Allianz Arena, Coutinho turned on the style with three goals and two assists to help Bayern to a 6-1 win. It was Coutinho's best-ever 90-minute haul. Thiago is confident of seeing more of the same.
Watch: The Coutinho show against Bremen in full
"He's a spectacular guy, super hardworking, with an unbeatable technique and an incredible finish," the midfielder enthused to SportBild. "Players can go through good and bad moments but he gives us a lot. We hope to have him with us again next year."
Thiago is in his seventh season as a Bayern player having signed from Barcelona under Pep Guardiola in 2013. A Spain international, the 29-year-old was actually born in Italy when his Brazilian, FIFA World Cup-winning, father Mazinho was playing for Lecce. Thiago spent some of his youth in Brazil, and has rubbed shoulders with Coutinho long before the current campaign.
"I know him very well," he said. "He's very good. I've seen him play since he was 12 years old. I played futsal against him in Brazil, and I really liked him there. I love to play with great football players and he's a phenomenon."
Watch: How Thiago pulls Bayern's strings
Whether Coutinho stays for the longer term remains to be seen, but Thiago would be delighted to end his own glittering career in Bavaria.
"I've been in Munich for almost eight years and I never thought I'd even play in German football," he continued. "It's a tricky question and a lot has to be right - you have to maintain your level for example. Perhaps the club is looking for someone in your position who's 6'2-tall. But Bayern would be a wonderful club to end your career with."