Future Bayern Munich signing Alphonso Davies says he is relishing the prospect of switching to the record Bundesliga champions this winter, as he prepares for his final MLS outing with the Vancouver Whitecaps against the Portland Timbers on Sunday.
"I can't wait to play for Bayern, and play in the UEFA Champions League," Davies told Daily Hive. "Whoever made that competition is a brilliant guy. Having the top teams from Spain, England, Germany – all of Europe – play against each other, it's exciting to watch."
Davies, who will turn 18 on 2 November, is set to join Bayern during the upcoming winter break, having lit up the MLS this season with six goals and 11 assists in 30 appearances. The Bavarian giants announced that they had secured his services in July 2018, with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic describing him as "a very big talent".
The Ghana-born prodigy is widely considered the best player the Whitecaps have ever produced, as well as the most talented Canadian of his generation – and potentially of all time. He will say an emotional farewell to his boyhood club as the Timbers visit Vancouver this weekend.
"I expect the same love that they gave me from the first time I stepped on the field," said Davies, who will be making his 65th and final MLS outing with the 'Caps. "They've always supported me, every time I've played at BC Place. I want to spend a bit of extra time there after the game and say 'thank you'."
Canada's youngest-ever goalscorer is already gearing up for his move to the old continent, and recently started taking German lessons ("It's hard!"). He knows that it will be tough adapting to his new surroundings at Bayern, but received some useful advice on that score from fellow MLS star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
"I just hope he's ready when he goes there," the LA Galaxy striker said. "When he arrives he will be lonely and the competition will be big, so he needs to be mentally strong. And when he sees the big players, not show too much respect. You're going there for a reason, because you're part of the team. Then it's up to him to do the rest, so I see a bright future!"
Davies' remarkable story – born to Liberian parents in a Ghanaian refugee camp, raised in Edmonton and a national hero by the age of 16 – has given him a dimension that goes beyond the football pitch. He made a powerful speech at the FIFA Congress in June 2018 as Canada, Mexico and the United States won the bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He also appeared in Nike's recent advert, 'Believe in Something', alongside sporting giants Serena Williams and LeBron James.
"Little Alphonso in the middle!" he said. "Being in between those two sports icons, it's exciting.
"In many ways, though, Davies' story is only just beginning, as he dives in at the deep end and joins a genuine footballing superpower. The Whitecaps' Player of the Year has taken it all in his stride throughout the first 18 years of his life, and in a few short months he could well be dazzling both the Bundesliga and the rest of Europe. Bayern's opponents have been warned.