In the space of nine months, Alphonso Davies has quickly established himself in the ranks at Bayern Munich. His name is a staple on the left side of Bayern’s back four, and he has been delivering stellar performances week in week out. It is almost impossible to count how many counterattacks he has foiled with his lightning speed, which has earned him the catchy nickname “Roadrunner” from teammate Thomas Muller (meep meep).
Not only has he nailed down a place in Bayern’s starting eleven, he has also done so in the hearts of many Bayern fans. Never one to shy away from attention off the pitch, Davies can often be seen on social media posting some ridiculous video or photo with a great big smile on his face, or on his YouTube channel saying “you know what I’m saying” at least once every twenty seconds. He is arguably one of the most active Bayern players on social media, which probably does not come as too big a surprise, considering his age.
That being said, Davies doesn’t use social media as just a way to gather followers, expand a brand, or anything else. In an exclusive interview with Bayern club magazine 51, Davies said that social media was his way of making the best out of a bad situation, with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting millions of lives around the world.
“I’ve always been like that, it’s in my character,” he says. “Life is too short to be angry or sad for long. I think it runs in my family.”
As we all know, the Davies family moved from Ghana to Canada after escaping Liberia in the midst of a civil war. While he may not remember all the details, Phonzie knows how hard a journey it was, and is “so infinitely grateful to my parents,” for putting him in “the happy situation where I can say I can enjoy every single day of my life.”
Apparently social media is a way of conveying that joy. “You just have to be grateful because there are lots of people in the world who aren’t so well off. I know that there are other sides to life,” he says. “All the more reason why I now try to convey to the people out there how important it is to feel a sense of joy.”
When he’s on social media, Phonzie doesn’t think too hard about what to post. For instance, his finest performance in a Bayern shirt so far (yes, this is debatable) was not on the pitch, but behind the mic as he serenaded his teammates with a rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at his initiation last summer. “‘I Will Always Love You’ was a spontaneous idea, and my videos on social media are usually simple ideas that come to me while I’m lying on the couch,” he says. “I think it makes things easier if you don’t take yourself too seriously. A certain amount of self-confidence certainly doesn’t hurt. I think a mixture is good. Believe in yourself and don’t drive yourself too mad.”
However, when Davies is on the pitch, only the self-confidence remains with him. The carefree, not-thinking part of him is gone. “With my first step onto the training ground at Säbener Straße or into the Allianz Arena, even when getting on the team bus for example, I switch on,” he says. “Then it’s all about being focused.”
Motivation is not hard to find, so focusing is not that hard either. “It’s always been my dream to play soccer for a club like Bayern, against the best in the world. I won’t let up a single day. Never,” he says.
But Phonzie’s game face does not just stem from playing on the best team in the world. Rather, it was a promise that stuck with him from his professional debut in Vancouver, a promise with his mother. “She had seen on TV how teenagers can go off the rails,” he explains. Even after she was convinced, Phonzie still had to promise her that “I’d stay a good boy, that I’d always keep both feet on the ground and never forget where I came from. It’s a big, important promise, and it’s going to last my whole life.”
Although Phonzie never forgets where he came from, it didn’t take him too long to identify with Bayern’s ‘mia san mia’ culture, mostly because the club gave him a very warm welcome once he landed in Munich. “There’s something very family-oriented about Bayern,” he says, “everyone takes care of you with incredible warmth, and at the same time you’re always pushed to perform to the limit in every single training session on the pitch.” Indeed, he adds that “Mia san mia is something that I’ve taken to my heart because I can fully identify with it. It’s in me.”
If that last quote wasn’t enough to make you like the young Canadian, then this one most certainly will. Davies took the last question of the interview to address the fans, and how he wants to please them. When asked about how he could become a foreign fan favorite such as the likes of Franck Ribery, he answered: “I’m very happy with the way the fans have welcomed me here. And I’m happy if I can reciprocate this affection with my performances.” He rounded off the interview by saying “I’ll do everything I can to become one of those players that fans will remember for a long time to come.”
Having recently signed a new contract until 2025, it very much seems like he may become one of those players. Here’s to many more years of Phonzie’s pleasant company in Munich!