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 By Mark Lovell

Bayern Munich cool Barcelona links with Thiago Alcantara

Bayern Munich have dismissed speculation that Thiago Alcantara could return to his former club Barcelona.

Thiago, 26, signed for Bayern from Barcelona at the start of Pep Guardiola's three-year reign in 2013. The Spain international has won the Bundesliga title five times in succession, and the DFB Pokal twice, but has never progressed past the Champions League semifinals with the Bavarians.

According to reports in Spain, Thiago's father, Mazinho, had been sounded out by the La Liga leaders about his son making a potential return to the club where his brother, Rafinha, still plays.

However, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic told Bild: "Thiago extended his contract at Bayern only last year until 2021. He is one of our leading players. I'm not even thinking about a transfer."

Thiago had left the door open to a move back to his boyhood club in November, saying: "Barcelona will always be my home, not just because I love the club, but also the city. I will always look at it with affection.

"You never know if I will return because I am really happy at Bayern, but football changes a lot. Anything can happen."

Thiago Alcantara
Thiago Alcantara joined Bayern Munich from Barcelona during Pep Guardiola's reign at the Allianz Arena.

Thiago suffered a thigh injury in the Champions League game at Anderlecht in November and is currently stepping up his comeback bid in Barcelona.

"Thiago is doing well. Everything is being coordinated with the doctors and going to plan," Salihamidzic said.

"We have big targets for this year and Thiago will play his part in us achieving these."

Thiago is expected to return to full training next month having just started running on the treadmill.

Meanwhile, Bayern midfielder Arturo Vidal has remained coy on links with Premier League champions Chelsea.

"Yes, I've heard about it, but I'm fully focused on the season with Bayern and taking it a day a time," he said. "We are a great team and have big goals. We want to win every title and that's my focus."

Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.

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