Even though Alphonso Davies has missed all of the 2022 international breaks for the Canadian national team, he played a massive role in helping them qualify for their first World Cup since 1986.
The Bayern Munich defender has been recovering from a bout of myocarditis after a coronavirus infection, but looks set to mark his return to action either this week against Villarreal in the Champions League, or next week at the very latest.
Since joining Bayern from the Vancouver Whitecaps in January 2019, Davies has well and truly exceeded expectations for both club an country. No one would have expected the speed of his upward trajectory as he burst onto the scene playing as a left back for Bayern when he was naturally a left winger for the Whitecaps.
Former Canadian and Bundesliga footballer Rob Friend was full of praise for his compatriot in a recent interview with kicker (via Abendzeitung). Friend played for Borussia Monchengladbach, Hertha Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and TSV 1860 Munich during his time in Germany as well as playing for the Canadian national team, where he scored 2 goals and made 32 appearances. He said “Davies has long been more than a great athlete. Davies is an icon.” In addition to his exploits on the pitch, Davies is just as much of an icon off of it. Most notably, he is a Global Goodwill ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency, for which he does all kinds of charitable and awareness-raising work.
For players like Davies, Canadian football is back on the map having not been for decades. Friend emphasized this point when he made reference to all of his athletic idols growing ip having played different sports. “My heroes used to be called Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Mario Lemieux, all hockey players, because unfortunately there were no great Canadian footballers,” he explained. For a newer generation, though, Davies is a beacon of the raw talent that Canada possesses in a group of players that is well represented by playing for teams in Europe’s top five leagues.