David Alaba isn’t like most footballers. In the past decade, the Bayern Munich defender has played nearly 400 games for the German club and won almost every trophy imaginable. But in recent years he’s become as known for his regular fashion week appearances and off-pitch style as he has for his footballing ability.
“You can express something with your own style and your body language,” Alaba tells HYPEBEAST. “With your style you can show the world who you really are and what is really important to you.” Alaba’s style isn’t the stereotypical footballer look, with the Austrian player pointing to more tasteful and luxury labels like Dior, Maison Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta as his favorites.
“With your style you can show the world who you really are and what is really important to you.”
Alaba is one of a growing number of players from around the world who has taken their passing interest in fashion and style to the next level. Last year saw Héctor Bellerín walk for Louis Vuitton, while the young Everton duo Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were turning heads when they spent their winter break at New York Fashion Week. “I love the fact that people all over the world come together, share their love for fashion and get inspiration and what fashion means,” Alaba says of his fashion week experiences. “It’s also very important for me to see something quite different to the football world.”
This season marks 10 years since Alaba broke into the Bayern Munich first team, two years after he’d joined the roster. Alaba was just 16 when he made the move from his hometown club in Vienna to sign with Bayern, at the time the youngest player to represent the club. “Munich became my second home, I love the people here and the vibe in the city,” he adds, “I really feel at home here.”
Over the course of his decade in the first team, and 12 years in the city, Alaba has played an important role. His position at left-back has seen him become a stalwart as the club built an all-conquering team. The highlight of that time for him, however, was the 2013/14 season as the club won an historic treble, taking home the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB Pokal trophies. Alaba has also had the opportunity to work with some of the best coaches in the world, including three years under Pep Guardiola.
“First of all it was, and is, a pleasure for me to work with them,” he says of the illustrious names, including Carlo Ancelotti and Louis Van Gaal as well as Guardiola, who have passed through the club. “I could improve and learn a lot from every single manager. I was able to develop with every one as a player on the pitch, but also as a person off it.”
The 2019/20 season got off to a rocky start for Bayern, with a mediocre run of results leading to manager Niko Kovač being replaced in early November. After this difficult beginning, Bayern resumed their place at the top of the table. The team is currently the favorite to win the title for the eighth year in a row, and they hold a commanding first leg lead over Chelsea in the Champion’s League.
Bayern’s return to form may not come to fruition, however. German football was officially suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus outbreak and, currently, it remains unknown when or if the season will resume.
Alaba believes the suspension is the right decision from the football governing bodies around the world. “If football can make just a small contribution to help, we all have to follow expert advice,” he adds. “Right now, the health of every single person is way more important than any training session or any match.”
“After hard and difficult times, people need something that has the power to make them happy and hopeful. I’m sure that football will still have that power.”
The sports world as a whole faces uncertainty about when — or if — their current seasons will continue. Euro 2020, due to begin in June, has been postponed by a year to give clubs the chance to wrap up their domestic leagues and continental competitions over the summer.
For Alaba, football will be a force for good when it is allowed to restart. “It will still have an important role in our society,” he continues. “After hard and difficult times, people need something that has the power to make them happy and hopeful. I’m sure that football will still have that power.”