Sunday 22 April 2018

Alves ready to punish Barca for lack of love

Dani Alves of Juventus. Photo: Rafael Marchante/Reuters
Dani Alves of Juventus. Photo: Rafael Marchante/Reuters Newsdesk Newsdesk

Dani Alves was a serial winner with Barcelona, yet the exuberant Brazilian never felt loved by the Catalan club and today will have a chance to show them what they are missing when Juventus host his former side.

The Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Juventus Stadium will be the first time Alves has faced Barca since he left for Turin last summer.

Alves had been one of the architects of Barcelona's dominance. He won 23 titles over eight season at the Nou Camp, including three Champions League trophies and six La Liga titles.

The right back provided 42 assists for Lionel Messi, more than any other player, and notched 100 assists in the league.

Before the 2015 Champions League final triumph over Juventus, Messi hailed Alves as the best right-back in the world.

A year later, though, he left the Nou Camp on a free transfer.

Alves' flamboyant manner was often viewed as a lack of professionalism by the club's hierarchy. His sometimes eye-catching social media posts also irked fans. On one occasion last year, he drew criticism from supporters when he posted a video of himself dressed up as a woman and saying Barcelona's elimination from the Champions League was "just a game of football".

In an interview earlier this year, Alves was scathing of the Barcelona board.

"The people who run Barcelona have no idea how to treat their players," he said. "They were very false and ungrateful. They did not respect me. They only offered me a renewal because of the FIFA transfer ban. That's when I played their game and signed a renewal, which included a clause that allowed me to leave for free a year later.

"I like feeling loved and as they did not want me I left."

Alves' departure left a gaping hole in the Barcelona team. The club opted against signing a replacement, leaving Aleix Vidal and Sergi Roberto to take his place.

Should the Brazilian engineer Barcelona's elimination from this season's Champions League, they may wish they had shown him a little more of the appreciation he so craved.

  • Juventus v Barcelona, Live RTE2 & BT Sport 2, 7.45

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