Has Dani Alves Played His Last Game For Barcelona?

Dani Alves broke his right clavicle at training yesterday, and will definitely not play in the Copa Del Rey Final against Athletic Bilbao. His absence is a huge blow to our chances of winning this important trophy. However, it could yet be far worse. It is possible that Dynamite Dani may well have played his last game for our great club.

Dani Alves first came to prominence as an important member of the excellent Sevilla team which won five major trophies between 2005 ans 2007. I vividly remember Dani scoring  the winning goal for Sevilla against Barcelona with an magnificent free kick to give Sevilla a 2-1 victory in 2006/07. Sevilla probably should have won La Liga that season  but failed to take advantage of the fact that neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid were outstanding. I would have much preferred a Sevilla La Liga victory than the eventual Madrid title at our expense. At the end of that season, Dani was linked with a move to Chelsea but the transfer never eventuated.

Dani Alves joined Barcelona in July 2008, a deal that made him the most expensive defender in history. He has proven to be an astute buy who was well worth the huge fee. His play as an attacking right fullback has been integral to Barcelona having the most successful period in its history. 

In his third season with Barcelona (2010/11) there was a long drawn-out saga as to whether Dani would extend his contract with us. It was a simple problem. Dani wanted more money than Barcelona wanted to pay. For this he was heavily criticised by some and harshly labelled a mercenary. Fortunately, the impasse was eventually resolved and Dani signed a contract extension that looked like it would keep him at Barcelona for the rest of his career.

It may not turn out that way. This season Barcelona have often played a 3-4-3 system instead of its usual 4-3-3. This has had a detrimental effect on Dani's play as he if far more effective coming from deep as an attacking right full back (4-3-3) than when playing as a midfielder (3-4-3). This was obvious when he was left out of the starting team in the second leg against Chelsea. 

Dani Alves has also attracted some harsh criticism for some of his antics such as his ridiculous dance when celebrating a fairly meaningless goal against Rayo Vallecano. Needlessly getting sent off against Real Betis did not help his cause either.

It has been widely reported that Barcelona's transfer priorities are to obtain a quality left fullback and central defender and possibly a top striker as well. Barcelona's transfer budget is reportedly 50 million Euros plus the proceeds of player sales. Given that both Russian zillionaires Anzhi and miracle EPL champions Manchester City are both supposedly interested in signing him, Dani Alves could well be the player who would return the highest fee. That has the benefit of more funds being available to buy coveted new players.

The key decision as to whether Dani Alves is likely to be sold may well be whether Martin Montoya is deemed ready to replace him. While Montoya is good enough to already be a fringe Spanish national team player, I feel that any Barcelona team without Dani Alves is likely to be less strong than the same team with Dynamite Dani in it. 

While both Dani and Barcelona have strenuously denied any possible transfer, I remember similar noises being made in regards to Samuel Eto'o at the end of 2008/09, right until the Eto'o plus cash for Zlatan deal was announced. 

I really hope that next year's Barcelona team still includes Dani Alves.

Posted by: Drago , Columnist at 'Culé Talk'