29 May 2013

David Alaba: Bayern Munich's Fil-Austrian Player

David Alaba Azkals
Filipino football fans were recently looking up the name "David Alaba" in the web and trying to find out more about him. It followed a flood of pictures posted online showing the 20-year old player of Bayern Munich dancing after the final whistle where his team won against Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the first-ever all-German Champions League final.

It was not the dancing, mind you, that caught the attention of Filipinos, but the the three flags tied around his back: Philippine flag for the country of his mother, Nigerian flag for the country of origin of his father and of course the Austrian flag.

According to some online network, David Olatukunbo Alaba was born on 24 June 1992 in Vienna. He began his career with SV Aspern, his local club in Aspern, in the 22nd district, Donaustadt, before joining the youth setup of FK Austria Wien at age 10. He rose through the ranks quickly, and in April 2008 he was named on the first-team substitutes' bench for a Bundesliga match. He also played five times for Austria Wien's reserve team, before leaving in summer 2008 to join German Bundesliga side Bayern Munich.

Alaba is best known as Austria's youngest player to play for the team, debuting for them as a 17 year-old. He has played a multitude of roles, including central midfield, right and left wing, but as of spring 2012 has blossomed as a left back, a role Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has stated he sees Alaba continuing in. He has also been called as "Bayern Munich's next Lizarazu". Bixente Lizarazu is a former football left defender who played most notably for Bordeaux and Bayern Munich, as well as the French national team.

At the age of just 19, Alaba won the prestigious vote for Austrian Footballer of the Year in 2011. In the poll organized by APA (Austrian press agency) among the coaches of the ten Austrian Bundesliga clubs, Alaba finished top on 21 points, just ahead of Austria Wien's Dutch star Nacer Barazite (20 points) and VfB Stuttgart's Martin Harnik. In December 2012, he received the award for the second consecutive year.

With such a formidable background, not a few online posters and football fanatics are wondering if Alaba will have a chance to strut his ware with the Filipino national team popularly referred to as the "Azkals".