Lionel Messi has said that Dani Alves is the best right back in the world, it sure must be a reason for Ed Woodward to make him a Manchester United player after his last game for Barcelona in Saturday night’s Champions League final.
And if Alves picks up the Champions League medal he will equal Pele as the most decorated Brazilian player.
Pele won three World Cups, one North American League with Cosmos and 24 trophies with Santos but Alves is on the verge of his 19th medal with Barcelona to go with the five he won at Sevilla. Along with that the Brazilian has won three trophies with Brazil, and the Copa do Nordeste with Bahia FC in 2002.
The Copa del Rey win on Saturday against Athletic Bilbao was indicative of his career. He out-played almost everyone on the field and even set up the third goal for Messi.
He was one of Barcelona’s best players and provided the assist for the third goal, laying on a cross that allowed Messi to score his second of the night.
But despite that being trophy No 27 he had made the news for the new haircut he revealed climbing off the team bus 90 minutes before kick-off.
The neat little bun of hair left on an otherwise shaven head had supporters, waiting to cheer the team into the stadium, double-taking and it was given more post-match attention than yet another huge performance in a big game.
In what has been a golden last seven years for Barcelona, Alves has been there from the start as Pep Guardiola’s first acquisition.
He won six trophies with his new coach in the first full year under the new regime and in recent weeks has looked back in the kind of form that made him such an integral part of that unbeatable machine that swept all before it and won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011.
Alves often tracks forward and stays in the opponents half, but that is not what Van Gaal looks for in a full back, but the winning gut of Alves will be enough to win over the Dutch.
In the press conference Alves organised last week he assured everyone present that there would be no backing down and that he had no intention of signing the clause-loaded contract on offer.
At one point he even told the press officer , who was doing his best to bring the conference to an end, that it was not true that there was only time for four more questions, he had until at least 2pm to field more enquiries.
He even suggested the disgruntled press officer could leave if he wanted to and Alves would carry on unaided.
Barca want the player to accept a contract that will only be renewed year on year for three campaigns if he has played a certain amount of games. Alves wants a no-strings-attached deal and believes aged 32, with no injury problems and a cabinet full of trophies, he deserves exactly that.
He is already Barcelona’s most decorated, and if he picks up a Champions League medal on Saturday he will also become Brazil’s most-decorated – with only Pele for company.
His has not been the classic goodbye like Xavi but Barcelona will miss him just as much.