LUIS F. ROJO
New Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez has wasted little time in making his first signing and that’s because he knows what Dani Alves can bring to this squad, as much off the pitch as on it, in terms of character and personality.
Xavi is looking to his former teammate, who he played alongside for seven successful years at the Camp Nou, to lead the way in terms of mentality and professionalism. The Blaugrana squad is, generally speaking, a young one and another dressing room leader will come in handy.
There’s no better qualified man in football, either, as no player in history has won as many trophies as Dani Alves. That he is still playing at the top level, and for his country, at 38 years old is also a testament to his dedication and work ethic, which should provide an example to follow for those in the earlier stages of their careers.
The Brazilian has been there and done it all and picked up plenty of game knowledge along the way. His role will be about keeping standards and spirits high and transmitting his game management skills.
With Alves on the pitch, Barcelona would surely not have allowed Celta Vigo to come back from 3-0 down in their last LaLiga Santander game. His experience should help them to see games like that out and not lose control.
Improvement at right-back
While there’s plenty to be said for the intangibles that Dani Alves brings to Barcelona on his return, it mustn’t be forgotten that he played for Brazil as recently as September. So, he’s not coming to be another coach, he’s coming to play.
Xavi‘s current options at right back – until Alves can play in January – are Sergino Dest, Oscar Mingueza and Sergi Roberto. Dest is still very much a work in progress, although he has shown improvements this year, while the latter two are not natural full-backs.