Football

Published on July 27th, 2017 | by BrazilStats

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A homecoming for Diego Alves puts golden goalie in hunt for World Cup spot

Diego Alves was one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga, but his reputation in Europe meant nothing in Brazil. A move to Flamengo could change everything

Diego Alves has been one of the most consistent Brazilian goalkeepers over the past few years, but his eye-catching performances in La Liga have not been enough to earn him a well-deserved spot with Brazil’s national team. In the hunt for a ticket to Russia, the Valencia man has set up a move to Flamengo.

There is no doubt that Diego Alves has been Brazil’s best goalkeeper on the European continent, over the past five years. However, playing for ‘Los Che’ did not help his case, as successive national team managers have favored goalkeepers from the Brazilian league. If the likes of Alisson, Cássio and Wéverton were able to reach the Seleção during their time at Internacional, Corinthians and Atlético Paranaense respectively, then there is no doubt that Alves – who in terms of quality is superior – will have a strong case, after signing for the Carioca giants.

What the 32-year-old needed is more visibility. It is not the ‘keeper’s problem that managers are biased in their selections and sometimes, have to follow some internal political matters within the Brazilian FA, but it is a reality that he has to deal with from now on.

Alves is known for his quick reflexes and clutch moments in big games, but especially for his ability to stop penalties. As a matter of fact, he is the goalkeeper with most penalty saves (22) in the Spanish league’s history. Alves even boosted his record by making two penalties in the same game, against Atlético Madrid in October 2016. Now if that’s not impressive enough, statistics show that a penalty-taker facing Diego Alves in goal, is likely to miss just as much as he is, to find the back of the net.

Brazil’s starting goalkeeper is yet to be defined ahead of the World Cup. Roma goalkeeper Alisson has started all official games under Tite’s guidance so far, but struggled with game-time in Serie A last season – even though everything indicates that with Szczęsny’s departure to Juventus, he is set to keep the starting spot.

Meanwhile, Wéverton started the friendly against Argentina in June but was barely tested. However, he has been in a worrying form over the past few weeks. Diego Alves started the last game against Australia and made some impressive saves, ending the match with a clean sheet.

New Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson also featured in the last call-up, but did not play, cannot be ruled out, especially if he can pull-out an impressive campaign with Pep Guardiola’s side. In the Brasileirão, goalkeeping coach Taffarel has been closely monitoring the situation of Santos hero Vanderlei, who has been the league’s best goalkeeper in 2017.

With Russia 2018 now just a season away, Diego Alves is seen as one of the main candidates to grab a vacant spot with Brazil’s national team. Flamengo are the country’s most popular club – by some margin. If the veteran manages to produce a couple of spectacular saves in big games, there is no doubt that the press will be crazy about him, and the fans will be screaming his name ahead of the quest for a sixth star on their shirts.

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