Dani Alves has hit out at Barcelona for neglecting the chance to re-sign him, insisting he could still be at Camp Nou today.
Alves was a key part of Barcelona’s success during his time at the club between 2008 and 2016. He won 23 trophies with the club in total and was widely regarded as the best right-back in the world in his prime.
However, the Catalan giants decided to let him go at the end of his eighth season with the club, in which they had won LaLiga, the Copa Del Rey, the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.
Alves remained a regular player for them until the end, making 48 appearances in all competitions in his final season. However, as he reached the age of 33, they chose to refresh their ranks.
Since Alves’ departure, Barcelona have not enjoyed quite as much success. They have only won LaLiga twice since then, and have not reached the Champions League final – a competition they last won in 2015.
The Brazilian full-back went on to play for Juventus and PSG, before returning to his native country to sign for Sao Paulo in 2019.
Now, he has revealed that he offered his services to Barcelona in the years after leaving the club, but they “didn’t have the balls” to take him back.
“I offered myself to Barca to come back. I went to Juve to prove I was still at a good level,” the 37-year-old told RAC 1.
“I wanted to return to Barca and they needed me, but they didn’t have the balls to admit that they were wrong with me.
“If they had treated me as I thought I deserved, today I would still continue playing for Barca. I love this club.”
Barcelona changing identity
Barcelona have been in their fair share of turmoil recently. After suffering embarrassing defeats in the last three editions of the Champions League, numerous questions were asked of the club.
Lionel Messi even threatened to leave during the summer transfer window, before backing down on his decision. Nevertheless, he could still leave at the end of his contract in 2021.
At board level, Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned after coming under intense scrutiny. Things have not started well on the pitch either, with Barca in the bottom half of LaLiga after six games.
Alves thinks the club needs to rediscover their identity, but it will be a struggle.
“The style of Barca is changing,” he said. “The club has lost its identity a bit and now has to go through a tough process to recover it.
“I think that Barca only wants to be a commercial and business club… buy and sell players. When you do that, you lose your identity. I think that is the problem for Barcelona.”
Alves advice for Dest
Alves also gave some simple advice to current Barca right-back Sergino Dest, who joined the club in the summer and cited the Brazilian as his idol.
Alves made over 100 assists for Barcelona, so Dest will need to contribute a lot to match him.
However, Alves thinks Dest can succeed if he focuses on one “very simple” task.
“If I have to give Dest advice, it’s very simple: pass the ball to Messi,” Alves said.
“Sergino Dest has a lot of quality and has a chance of succeeding at Barca, but I don’t like to make comparisons. It happened to me with Cafu… they don’t make sense.”