At 36 years of age, Paris Saint-Germain’s Dani Alves is the most decorated footballer ever.
His super goal for Brazil in the Copa America has put him front and centre again, as the Selecao close in on what they hope is another title.
As captain, Alves will feel the weight of responsibility, but it hasn’t stopped him playing his effervescent natural game.
Those marauding runs were once the lifeblood of Barcelona’s attacks, the Brazilian more often than not assisting Lionel Messi to add to an ever-increasing goal tally.
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JUNE 22: Dani Alves of Brazil celebrates after scoring the fourth goal of his team during the Copa America Brazil 2019 group A match between Peru and Brazil at Arena Corinthians on June 22, 2019 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Countryman and club colleague, Neymar, has intimated that he now wants out of the French club, and their refusal to offer Alves a new two-year deal has seen him announce that he too will be playing elsewhere next season.
It’s believed that the right-back has actually been courting Barcelona for the last month or so, but ‘getting the band back together’ doesn’t seem to be on the Catalan club’s agenda at present.
In Alves’ case there are a number of reasons why that would be the case.
Firstly, although Nelson Semedo wants to leave the Blaugrana for more playing time elsewhere, the club will not countenance any move away unless the buying club are prepared to meet his €100m buyout clause. Not a penny less.
PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 06: Dani Alves of PSG looks dejected in defeat after the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid at Parc des Princes on March 6, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Alves, despite shining in the Copa, has had a poor season by his standards and certainly wouldn’t be an upgrade on either Semedo or Sergi Roberto.
There’s the issue of salary and length of contract too, but perhaps as important when weighing up the pros and cons is recalling the way in which Alves criticised the club upon leaving.
It’s something that he has continued to do and yet still has the brass neck to go cap in hand because there’s every chance he could win a few more trophies for his personal collection.
Footballers have always been a breed apart, it’s true, but Alves’ attitude towards Barca really does take the biscuit.
PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 22: Neymar (R) of PSG celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with Dani Alves during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Paris Saint-Germain and Celtic FC at Parc des Princes on November 22, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
That they’re even considering taking Neymar back is something of a surprise, albeit there are those senior players in the dressing room who believe that they would be stronger with him than without.
There’s no such support for Dani Alves’ return, nor should there be.
Until a few seasons ago he was, without question, the best right-back in the world. But those days are long gone.
If the club truly want to get back something that has been lost, far better that they promote from La Masia and start shaping the team now and post-Messi with players from the academy.