The Barcelona full-back opens up on money, the criticism of his defend, why he likes sing and his disfavour for social media and the world we live in
Dani Alves rocks back in his chair, a glisten in his eye. Imagine if Id been any good, he says. Imagine. If hed been any good, he might have induced more La Liga appearances than any foreigner ever or provided a hundred assistances, more than any other player apart from Lionel Messi over the last decade in Spain. He might have been voted into the FIFPro team five times or won so many trophies that hes lost count. If Dani Alves had been any good, he might have won five leagues, four cup, three European Cups, three Club World Cups and two Uefa Cups.
So, Dani, how many trophies have you won? Its only the second question the first, in case youre wondering, is who is the worlds best right-back and the answer, in case youre wondering that too, is Cafu and for once Alves is stuck. Theres a pause and a false start before he responds: Twenty er, thirty? Thirty trophies. Its a number that brooks little argument but with Alves theres always an debate. Time, then, to make a lawsuit for the defence?
Defence? Alves? If theres one thing everyone knows about him, its that he prefers to attack.
Theres something about Alves. Maybe its the style he plays. Or the style he garments: today hes in baggy beige trousers, MC Hammer-style, shoes with metal spikes on, a black T-shirt and jacket tied around his waist, all disappointingly normal. Or the style he is. Maybe its the silliness, the sing, the cheek, the outspokenness. Something that wins him admirers, sure, but detractors too. Something about him gets to them, and they clearly get to him too.
Maybe its the style he talks. Alves talks a bit like he plays. Quick, open, chaotic, seemingly everywhere at once. But theres an underlying logic there too, a commitment and a seriousness even for those prepared to look. He cares. Its an enjoyable ride, carrying you along. He packs a lot in, thats for sure; and he gets a lot out. Thirty medals, recollect. Which seems as good a place to start this conversation as any, even if where it will end isnt yet clear. So, here goes: thirtys a lot, but anyone can win medals in this Barcelona team, right?