The veteran right-back will play for Barça in the second half of the 2021/22 season, linking up with his former teammate Xavi and bringing a wealth of experience to the Camp Nou.
A revolution is taking place at Barcelona under new coach Xavi Hernandez, with a new generation of players coming through, but one very familiar face is returning to be a part of it: Dani Alves. The 38-year-old has reached an agreement in principle to join the Blaugrana in the January transfer window, becoming the first signing of the Xavi era… just as he was the first acquisition of Pep Guardiola’s tenure.
The Brazilian right-back previously played for Barcelona between 2008 and 2016, winning six LaLiga Santander titles at the Camp Nou (2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2012/13, 2014/15, 2015/16). He won 23 trophies during his eight years in Catalonia and has an overall haul of 46 titles from his wonderful career, more than any other player in history.
Five more of those titles came elsewhere in Spain, at Sevilla FC. After leaving Bahia to first move to Europe in 2002, having been identified by Sevilla sporting director Monchi, Alves stayed at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán for six years, until his 2008 transfer to Barça. At Sevilla, he helped the Rojiblancos win two UEFA Cups and a Copa del Rey, making the right flank his own.
Alves’ most recent success was captaining Brazil to the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, where the right-back played every minute and even assisted a goal for current Atlético Madrid striker Matheus Cunha in the 2-1 victory over Spain in the gold medal match.
At those Olympic Games, Alves showed the world that he still has what it takes to perform at the top level. He’ll bring attacking intent, dribbling ability and precision crossing to Barcelona’s right-back position, while Alves’ defensive work rate is so impressive that all the centre-backs and goalkeepers he has ever played with love him. As well as one of the most unique skillsets the full-back position has ever seen, Alves boasts two decades of experience and this might be exactly what Xavi’s Barcelona needs, with so many up-and-coming youngsters in the current squad.
For Alves, he is delighted to return to a club where he achieved so much and won half of the silverware of his illustrious career. Speaking about his imminent return to LaLiga Santander action, he said: “In my heart of hearts, I knew this day would come. I’m going home, but I never really left, and, as I said at the time, I am one of you! I don’t know how long this dream will last, but I hope it goes on forever! I’m as excited as the first time, with the same desire to help rebuild the best club in the world!”
For now, Alves is simply training with his new – and old, in the cases of Marc-André ter Stegen, Gerard Piqué, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti and Sergio Busquets – teammates. In January he’ll be eligible for selection and will be able to make his 423rd appearance in Spain’s top division. So far, he has won 276, drawn 73 and lost 73 of his LaLiga Santander outings, meaning he is currently tied for 14th in the all-time LaLiga Santander ranking for matches won. Over these next few months wearing the Blaugrana shirt, he’ll look to add some more victories and climb up that ranking. He and Barcelona fans would also love to see a 47th career title.