I have a little less hair, but the desire will be great! – Alves eager to challenge with Barca despite missing Messi

By Sports Desk November 17, 2021

Dani Alves is convinced he can still contribute on his Barcelona return despite his age and the absence of superstar Lionel Messi.

The 38-year-old re-joined the club on a free transfer on Friday, having left Sao Paulo in September over a contractual dispute after two years in Brazil.

The right-back will have to wait until January to add to his 391 appearances for Barcelona and will also hope to add to his list of trophies won with the club, which includes three Champions Leagues and six LaLiga titles.

Despite seemingly being in the twilight of his career, Alves is convinced he can play a part both on and off the field in spurring Barca back to the top.

"I have a little less hair but the desire will be just as great! I know what this club represents and I know what I can contribute, both inside and outside, creating synergy with the club, the fans," Alves said after his official unveiling. 

"After all, we have spoiled people for so many titles and maybe they are distrustful. But I think that if we all row towards the same side, the ship will reach the port."

 

Alves is not the only former player to have returned to Camp Nou, with club legend Xavi announced as the club's new head coach on November 6.

The Brazilian revealed that his former team-mate played a big part in bringing him back to Barcelona, claiming he was desperate to return and be part of Xavi's rebuilding project regardless of financial factors.

"I got heavy with the pressure. I told [Xavi] that I wanted to go back, that I wanted to help," Alves continued. "I was even so heavy that Xavi [said] he can't take it anymore! And Xavi told me that he was counting on me if I wanted to come.

"Many times people focus a lot on how much you are going to earn, what is your salary. For me, it is not important. I have never had anything.

"For me, it is important to support my family and the people I take care of, but it was not the time for that. It was the time to rebuild the team.

"I didn't even have to think. The rest is secondary, especially when one receives the call from Barca with the objective. We are ready for anything." 

Barcelona's financial issues prevented the club from extending Messi's contract, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner joining Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

Alves regrets not being able to link up with his old team-mate, having provided the Argentine with 42 assists in their time together, but accepts that the club must look to the future.

"For me, the kid [Messi] is the greatest thing I've ever seen," Alves added. "You always miss the greats, especially when you have a good relationship.

"It would be incredible to come back to see him here, but unfortunately, it could not be like that. I love him and his family very much, but now we are in a new process.

"I would encourage everyone to return if they could because this is the best place. But the story is different now and we have to think about the process."

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