Undoubtedly the best right back in the history of Barcelona, Dani Alves has become one of the most crucial players involved in the recent success for Barça. Since his arrival in 2008, he’s won a total of 23 trophies, including three trebles. His pestering defense and non-stop contributions in attack have made him the best right back of his generation.
However, his future remains in the air. He constantly states that “we never know what the future holds for us”, when asked if he will continue in Barcelona. Yet, on the other side, he continually praises both the fans and the team for their love and non-stop support during his eight years with the club.
Last year, he led a heart-stopping saga where he had a foot and a half out of the team but changed his mind after the fan’s love and support made him realize where his heart was. He eventually signed a two-year contract assuring his continuity. Now, there are multiple sources claiming that he has already agreed to a contract with Juventus. If the rumor is, in fact true, Barcelona will have a major crisis on hand.
Since he joined the team, he’s been the undisputed starting right back. Players have come and gone, and no one seems to come close to knocking Alves off from his starting role. Martin Montoya was once labeled his successor but never lived up to the expectations and is now in Real Betis. Even this past season, Aleix Vidal was brought in as a back-up plan in case Alves wouldn’t re-sign. Vidal however, would also fail to fill the Brazilian’s shoes.
To truly understand Dani Alves’ impact in the game, you have to carefully study him both on offense and defense. He is a box-to-box winger with the lung capacity to make 100-yard runs unlimited amount of times. He’s not the strongest or tallest player, but he has a warrior spirit that allows him to out-body and out-sprint some of the best players in the world. If he gets beat by an attacker, he will simply turn around, chase him down like a cheetah and do anything in his power to win the ball back.
Offensively, he’s more of a threat than many wingers in the world. He’s third all-time in La Liga in assists. His precise crosses often generate goals or dangerous opportunities. During his last season with Barcelona, Pep Guardiola would sometimes play Alves as a winger or outside mid stating that Alves and Brazilian teammate Adriano were the only two players who were able to play both on offense and defense.
Throughout the years, he’s built and incredible relationship with Lionel Messi, to the point where they know where the other one will be without even looking. They’ve made a billion give-and-gos that have left the opposing defenders utterly exposed. No one feels his absence more than Messi himself, who seems frustrated and out of sync with other right backs that don’t understand what to expect from the Argentine forward.
Dani Alves is more than just a defender for Barcelona, he’s part of the bricks in the foundation of success. Without him, the building will collapse. If he does leave, he’ll leave an incredibly huge hole in the defense that neither Vidal nor Douglas can come close to covering.
To many people Dani Alves is just a karaoke-singing, samba-dancing, anti-Madridista. But to Barcelona and all their fans, he’s an irreplaceable right back. The best one in their history. No other player can bring to the table what Alves brings every game and all while making us laugh. In the end, there’s only one Dani Alves.