A few days ago Barcelona and Dani Alves reached an agreement in principle for the player to join the football first team for the remainder of the current season.
— Joan Laporta Estruch? (@JoanLaportaFCB) November 17, 2021
Dani Alves was presented as a Barcelona signing for the second time in front of 10,378 supporters at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, and the 38-year-old has made clear that he still has a lot to offer on the pitch.
The Brazilian right-back was in good spirits as usual and, having made several calls to Barcelona president Joan Laporta to inform him of his desire to return to the club where he played between 2008 and 2016, Xavi Hernandez finally gave the green light for his former teammate to be signed.
Dani Alves came to Barca in the summer of 2008 after five brilliant seasons in Sevilla. In the Catalan capital, he made the right-back slot his own across eight seasons, making 391 official appearances and scoring 23 goals.
Dani Alves took his flip flops off before walking onto the pitch ?♂️
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 17, 2021
Although his main role has always been in defence, in the true Brazilian wing-back tradition, Alves also likes to join the attack, where he has a fine shot from outside the area, earning him the reputation as one of the finest players of all time in his position. He was an automatic choice under all of Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova, Tata Martino and Luis Enrique, and the fans loved his dedication and extroverted character. In the summer of 2016, he left for Juventus, and since then has been at Paris Saint-Germain and lastly, at São Paulo back in his home country.
Alves has also played for Brazil, winning six major titles, most recently the Tokyo Olympic Games, where he lined up in the final against Spain where the likes of Oscar Mingueza, Eric Garcia and Pedri featured who would now be his teammates.
Alves won 23 titles at FC Barcelona: 6 Ligas, 4 Copas del Rey, 3 Champions League, 3 Club World Cups, 3 Spanish Super Cups and 4 European Super Cups.
He also won titles at Juventus (2), Paris Saint-Germain (6) and Sao Paulo (1) before returning to Catalonia.
Adding the various honours he won with EC Bahia (3), Sevilla (5) and Brazil (6), his total haul of 46 titles is regarded as the most ever won by a senior footballer.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 17, 2021
Now that is a fantastic record for a player, who deserved to lift the World Cup in yellow shirts, but, perhaps, Brazil as a team was never able to live up to the expectations throughout the last decade despite boasting with talents.
Right now, a new journey would start for Alves – let just say it would be the restart to the Barca journey – but the question would always remain whether he would be able to rekindle his glory days at Camp Nou or not – Or, Alves would play the role as a mentor and assistant to Xavi at Barca, could be guessed.
“I wasn’t born to be second, I was always first. I’m here to fight, I’m not here to pass time or to live in Barcelona,” Dani Alves said during his presentation.
“I’ve come here to play and fight for a place [in the team]. It’s not because I made history or because of my good relationship with Xavi.”
“With my work, I’m going to fight and try to contribute. Age is just a number. I just proved it at the Olympics. People will expect the best from me and I will respond as always.”
Dani Alves' glasses are straight out of 3021 ? pic.twitter.com/IbeLEGVFws
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 17, 2021
Alves’ desire to return to Barcelona had been much discussed; with it seeming like the club would go in another direction before a U-turn resulted in him arriving in Catalonia.
“I was very tough with the president and insisted that I wanted to come back. This club has given me everything I have,” he explained.
“I didn’t see myself under any kind of obligation, but I was happy to help… maybe that’s why I passed the decision on to Xavi. He called me and told me he wants me to join.”
“When you want something, you achieve it and it doesn’t matter how much you earn, your salary…”
Dani Alves se presentó en chanclas en su primer día con el Barça en 2008. Hoy en su regreso también las ha llevado. “Muchas cosas pueden cambiar… pero otras no”, dice el brasileño. Es único ? #fcblive pic.twitter.com/xqjSmkG1um
— Albert Rogé (@albert_roge) November 17, 2021
“I need to support my family, the people I look after, but it wasn’t the time to think about that, only about helping Barcelona. Everything else is secondary when you get a call from Barcelona.”
“We are willing to do anything to see Barcelona at the top of the table, winning trophies…”
Lionel Messi was one of the players Alves had a great relationship with during his first spell at Barcelona, and he admits that it is a shame they will not be playing alongside each other now.
Dani Alves will wear the number 8. pic.twitter.com/bw3fCiSArN
— Brasil Football ?? (@BrasilEdition) November 17, 2021
“If you give me a couple of hours, I’ll go and get him,” Alves joked when asked about Messi.
“History has been written and he will always be remembered. He’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and had as a teammate.”
“You always miss the greats, it’s normal, especially if you have a good relationship with them. It would have been incredible to see him here, but it wasn’t to be. I’ve been to many places, but there’s no place like Barcelona.”
Alves has signed a contract at Barcelona that runs until June 30, at which point he would be 39 years old, and he understands that he needs to perform well if he is to prolong his stay at the Camp Nou.
“I have until June [to impress] and then everything can be talked about, it will depend on the results,” he commented.
“If my grade is 4.5 [out of 10] I’m out… you have to have a high grade to stay.”
Dani Alves: Let's make Barcelona great again!!!! pic.twitter.com/oHQZHEjSYT
— infosfcb (@infosfcb) November 17, 2021
Barcelona have been poor so far this season, sitting ninth in La Liga and on the brink of elimination in the Champions League, but Alves thinks they can go back to basics under Xavi.
“I think the team is doing well, with young players, but things can be done better,” Alves stated.
“That’s Barcelona’s style, doing things differently but all in tune with each other. We set the standards for [playing with] the ball and we have to show the youngsters that there is no margin for error. I’m sure we’ll enjoy ourselves again.”
As usual, Dani Alves sounded confident and injected that feel-good mantra during the presentation. It seems that Xavi wants a reunion at camp Nou rather than trying and testing with the options he has.
For some coaches the plan is always different when the matter is about building a team – maybe, for Xavi, it is about starting with a reunion of old mates because Laporta stated, the returns of Andreas Iniesta and Messi could not be ruled out.
So, it could be guessed, Xavi wishes to bring back the flavour of 2008-2015 when Barca were right on top – with those players who have already passed their best. Only time can tell how well this strategy would work, but to be honest, this is a dangerous ploy that can backfire.