When spurring up conversation about Barcelona and the unprecedented 16 trophies won since the 2008-2009 season, it is very difficult not to include the staunchly, Brazilian born Daniel Alves.
The former Sevilla right back trekked up to the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, a 619 mile long trip to join the Catalan side back in 2008 at the mere age of 25. During his days in Sevilla he was an instrumental piece in orchestrating the high caliber of play that they administered and helped his Sevillan side overachieve, winning two UEFA Super cups and the Copa del Rey.
When Pep Guardiola took over the job as manager for the Blaugrana from Frank Rijkaard in 2008, his first order of business was signing the right back from Los Rojiblancos. His loose cannon style of play was what intrigued the former manager, not to mention Dani’s ability to own the right flank, which allowed Alves to take over the position from Gianluca Zambrotta.
During his inaugural season with the Blaugrana, Alves was pivotal in securing the first ever treble for FC Barcelona in Spanish football history. The Brazilian was also influential in bringing three La Liga championships back to Catalonia during his first three seasons, his presence was insuperable. Yet, the season in which the whole world really understood his worth was in 2010-2011 season.
Put this into perspective, at one point during the season Alves was only three assists off the league leader Lionel Messi. A right-back was ahead of the likes of Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo. Although the Barça system allows right backs to go unhinged down the right flank, it is a true testament to the defender for actually delivering quality balls when being pressured in the opponents third.
Alves’ prowess to anticipate attacks and to get behind the defense are just some of the few things this man can do to utter perfection. Despite his worth to the team, there are reports in Spain that there is a chance the Brazilian defender could be on his farewell tour. The latest indication of this coming into fruition was in April of this year, “Barcelona right-back Dani Alves has rejected Barcelona's most recent and final contract offer of three years”, his agent Dinorah Santana said on April 9th.
The likes of Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain have been linked to the defender. Nobody can dispel the worth of this right back, many cules worldwide have proclaimed their displeasure if the defender is not brought back.
Javier Mascherano has even gone on record to explain: "I’d like Dani to stay. He’s an amazing person, a real fun guy and very professional."
As for a replacement if the two sides can’t come to terms, it is very tough to say. Nobody on this team can realistically match the quality that Alves displays.
Douglas is extremely inexperienced and is light years away from really becoming a viable option in that position.
Martin Montoya would be the likely candidate, the 24 year old has shown flashes of brilliance and has the speed to replicate stellar runs executed by Alves, but is rather inconsistent.
Another alternative would be sliding Adriano to the right side as done before, but that could leave the left foot maestro in awkward situations attacking.
The one man I myself would lay my hat on is the aforementioned Dani Alves; it’s more than the sparkling runs, its those cracking shots that glaze off the defenders foot. His ability to track back on defense after laying the groundwork for a possible goal scoring opportunity are some of the things they will lose.
Hopefully both Dani Alves and the Barcelona board can set aside all the negative publicity and understand how much each side needs one another. Barcelona is in no position to lose a player of his stature with a FIFA imposed transfer ban set to expire in January 2016.
Published by Alexander Del Valle, columnist for Barcablog.com. You can follow him on Twitter @AlexanderDelV
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