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."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has not ruled out the possibility of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta returning to the club in the future.

Speaking at an event presenting Dani Alves to over 10,000 fans at the Camp Nou, Laporta suggested the return of the Brazilian right-back might not be the only reunion in the coming years.

Iniesta left Barca to sign for Japanese side Vissel Kobe in 2018, while debts of more than €1.2billion meant the Blaugrana could not afford to sign Messi to a new contract, leading to the Argentine moving to Paris Saint-Germain in August.

 

"I do not rule it out," Laporta said when asked about the possibility of Messi and Iniesta returning.

"It has happened with Dani, and I want to thank him because he has seen the situation of the club and wants to come to help."

Alves is the first signing for new head coach, Xavi, and penned a deal until the end of the season, but will not be eligible to play until January.

"I also thank him for making an economic effort. We are going to reverse this situation, but now he has made this effort. It has to be appreciated," Laporta added.

"These are people who have made this club great. Messi and Iniesta are spectacular, I cannot predict the future, as they are still playing, but they have made the club great, we always keep them in mind, although now they have contracts with other clubs and you have to respect that, but in life you never know."

Laporta was also asked about contract renewals, with speculation around new deals for Ousmane Dembele and Gavi, to which he replied: "Hopefully we can achieve more renewals soon."

Alves was asked about Dembele, who has also received a vote of confidence from Xavi in recent days. The 38-year-old said: "He needs to understand that he's playing for Barca. It's my mission to remind that to him, that he's really good, that he's phenomenal and that he can achieve great things at this club."

Dani Alves said wearing the Barcelona jersey makes him feel like a "superhero" after returning to Camp Nou as he tries to "rescue" the club.

Alves is back at embattled LaLiga powerhouse Barca for a second spell following his departure from Brazilian giants Sao Paulo.

The 38-year-old Brazilian full-back, who signed a deal until the end of the season but will not be eligible to play until January, left Barca five and a half years ago.

Alves made 247 appearances for Barca after arriving from Sevilla in 2008, winning six LaLiga titles and three Champions League crowns among 23 honours.

"There are two shirts I wear that make me feel like a superhero: the Brazil shirt and the Barcelona shirt," Alves told Barca TV.

"So putting that shirt back on will give me an extra strength, an extra adrenaline rush and I hope that I can transmit that to my team-mates."

 

Alves is Xavi's first signing after the club great was appointed to replace Ronald Koeman prior to the international break.

Debts of more than €1.2billion meant the Blaugrana could not afford to sign Lionel Messi to a new contract or make any significant investment in the playing squad before this season, and results on the pitch have been concerning: they are ninth in LaLiga, having won only four of their first 11 games.

Barca capitulated against Celta Vigo, squandering a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 in dramatic fashion on November 6.

The match at Celta saw Barca surrender a three-goal advantage in a LaLiga game for the first time since January 1998, against Valencia at Camp Nou in a 4-3 defeat.

Alves added: "Well, [I'm] still in a state of shock, because I've been trying to come back for a long time.

"I tried to come back twice…I don't know. And now, returning to work with people who know who I am, who know all of my characteristics – not only on the pitch, but off it too – is both a pleasure and a privilege. And as I said, I will also try to rescue Barca, a club that we all love very much, one that we all know.

"It is clear that we are in a process [of renewal], but that process must be accelerated, because at the end of the day we are at Barca.

"At Barca there is no margin [for error], there is not much margin to make mistakes. And maybe this is a great opportunity [to help once more]."

Dani Alves claims he knew in his heart and soul that he would return to Barcelona at some point in his career. 

The club announced the free signing of the 38-year-old on Friday following his departure from Sao Paulo, with the veteran right-back under contract for the rest of the campaign. 

Alves, who left Camp Nou five and a half years ago, will not be eligible to play until January but took to Instagram to declare his excitement at being back at "the best club in the world." 

The Brazilian international posted: "Almost five years of struggling like a madman to get to this point. I didn't know it would last this long, I didn't know it would be this hard, but I knew in my heart and inside my soul that this day would come. 

"I'm coming home from where I never left, and as I said before I left; I am one of you, I don't know how long that dream will last, but may it be eternal while it lasts." 

Along with a picture of himself kissing the club badge next to the pitch at Camp Nou, Alves added that he has "the same hope as the first time and with the same desire to help rebuild the best club in the world. I’m going back to my house." 

He becomes the first signing under fellow club legend Xavi, who recently replaced Ronald Koeman as Barca's permanent head coach. 

Alves made 247 appearances for the Catalan giants after signing from Sevilla in 2008, winning six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns during a hugely successful period. 

Barcelona have reached an agreement to re-sign Dani Alves on a free transfer following his departure from Sao Paulo.

The Brazil international returns to Camp Nou five and a half years after his previous eight-season stint with the Catalan giants came to an end, though he will not be eligible to play until January.

Alves won 23 trophies during his first spell with Barcelona before spending a season with Juventus, two seasons with Paris Saint-Germain and the last two years with Sao Paulo.

He was in attendance for Barca's 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev on November 2 and the LaLiga side confirmed on Friday that the 38-year-old is returning to the club as a free agent.

Two months after leaving Sao Paulo over a contractual dispute, Alves has put pen to paper on a deal with Barca that will run through until the end of the season.

 

Alves' return comes a week after club legend Xavi was appointed as Barcelona's new head coach, with his former team-mate reportedly playing a big part in the shock transfer.

The veteran defender made 247 appearances for Barca after joining from Sevilla in 2008, helping the club to six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns during a hugely successful period.

He played his part in 95 clean sheets, had 78 goal involvements (64 assists, 14 goals) and created 377 chances – the latter total across the eight-year period beaten by only five players, two of whom were Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Bahia academy product captained Brazil to Tokyo Olympics gold in August, which he rated as his greatest achievement in a career that has seen him win 42 trophies in total at senior level for club and country.

Alves recently stated his desire to join a big-name club in order to regain his place in the Brazil squad, with the most recent of his 119 caps coming in September's 2-0 World Cup qualifying win against Peru.

Dani Alves has revealed he wants to return to Barcelona, claiming his experience can make him a perfect foil for the talented youngsters emerging at Camp Nou.

The Brazilian right-back hopes to push for a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but is without a club after leaving Sao Paulo in September.

He would love to make the leap back into LaLiga, in what would be a startling move for a 38-year-old who left Barcelona five years ago.

Now it remains to be seen whether head coach Ronald Koeman thinks there is a place in his squad for the six-time LaLiga winner.

"I always said that I left because I saw that things were not the way I thought they should be," he told Spanish newspaper Sport.

With Joan Laporta back for a new stint as president, Alves believes Barcelona can move in the right direction.

"If left saying that when Barca needed me and wanted me, I would be at their disposal regardless of where I was," he said. "The affection, love and respect that I have for this club is too much. If Barca think they need me, they just have to call. I still think that I can contribute anywhere, but more at Barca because of the number of youngsters they have now.

"In every place I have been, I have always thought that the perfect mix is ​experience with youth. There will come a time when youth will mature and the older ones will leave. It is a natural cycle, but in football mistakes have been made and this process has accelerated. Processes cannot be sped up. The mix is ​​essential."

Alves played for Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona, winning league titles with both, before returning to Brazilian club football.

A three-time Champions League winner with Barcelona, he joined in 2008 from Sevilla and left eight years later. In 247 LaLiga games for Barcelona, he helped the team to 95 clean sheets, had 78 goal involvements (64 assists, 14 goals) and created 377 chances. The latter total across the eight-year period was beaten by only five players, two of whom were Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Alves said there was a subconscious "thorn" in his mind regarding the World Cup, and the fact he did not go to the 2018 tournament due to a knee injury. Winning a gold medal with Brazil at the Tokyo Olympic Games was rated by Alves as his greatest achievement in the game.

"Many times you stop playing not because of the physical element but because you have been mentally destroyed. And this is one of the things that I have the strongest: I decide when I start and I decide when I finish. And along the way you have to live it intensely, which is what I do," he said. "I know that if I am going to compete in a team, that is what will take me to the World Cup."

He scotched any thought of him lacking the physical wherewithal to compete at the highest level.

"There came a time in Sao Paulo that we played every other day," Alves said. "I am reaping what I have sown all my life, which is respect for the profession, discipline and care that one has to have ... it is what allowed me to compete in the Olympic Games with boys of 18 or 20 years old and have a good performance.

"I don't believe myself to be better than anyone, but I trust my work, my dedication and my preparation to face all my challenges. This is the basis of my entire career."

Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona all pursued Erling Haaland in the recent transfer window.

The 21-year-old Norway forward opted to stay with Borussia Dortmund.

But the race will heat up again at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA INTERESTED IN STERLING

Manchester United still want to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland and will make a move next European summer, reports the Express.

United made a major transfer splash when they landed Cristiano Ronaldo last month but remain in the Haaland race.

The Red Devils are looking to end their trophy drought and added Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho along with Ronaldo for this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- United are leading the way in the chase to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, according to The Sun. The 18-year-old is being pursued by Chelsea and Manchester City too.

- The Sun reports that United are planning a clear-out at the end of this season, including Donny van de Beek , Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to free up funds.

- Calciomercato reports that Juventus have identified Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic as a transfer target in the January window on loan.

- Ligue 1 club Lens could make a bid for Liverpool's Belgium international forward Divock Origi , claims Fichajes.

- Crystal Palace are interested in signing US international forward Daryl Dike from Orlando City, reports The Sun. Dike is set to command a £18m fee.

- Transfer expert Ekrem Konur claims that Flamengo have tabled an offer to sign Brazilian veteran Dani Alves.

Could Raheem Sterling leave Premier League champions Manchester City?

The Englishman has slipped down the pecking order in 2021-22.

LaLiga giants Barcelona are reportedly ready to offer Sterling regular football.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA INTERESTED IN STERLING

Barcelona are targeting a loan move for Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to Sport.

Sterling has fallen out of favour under Pep Guardiola this season, leading to speculation over his City future.

The England international is reportedly open to reunion with former City team-mate Sergio Aguero at Barca.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Independent claims Manchester United are prioritising a move for West Ham's Declan Rice. The Red Devils are eyeing Rice to partner Paul Pogba, who himself is the subject of transfer speculation. Out of contract at the end of the season, Pogba has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus.

Lazio are interested in free agent Dani Alves following his Sao Paulo exit, reports Calciomercato. The former Barca and Juve full-back terminated his contract and reportedly met with Brazilian rivals Flamengo.

- Fabrizio Romano says Roma are preparing a new five-year contract for Lorenzo Pellegrini, who has been linked with Premier League clubs.

- Serie A champions Inter are weighing up a move for Torino defender Bremer at the end of the season, says Calciomercato. The Brazilian has also been linked with United and Liverpool.

- According to Calciomercato, City have not given up on signing Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic. The Serbia international forward was linked with City as well as Tottenham, Arsenal and Atletico Madrid before the transfer window closed.

Luka Jovic is on the radar of Juventus, per Calciomercato. Jovic is out of favour at Madrid, with the Serbia international originally tipped to return to Eintracht Frankfurt on a permanent basis.

Borussia Dortmund teenager Jude Bellingham is attracting plenty of interest.

The 18-year-old England international's price is valued at around £80 million (€94m).

Bellingham made 46 appearances for Dortmund last season and already has eight England caps.

 

TOP STORY – CITY PLACE BELLINGHAM ON WISH LIST

Manchester City have turned their attention to Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, claims the Daily Star.

City have placed the 18-year-old England international on their wish list, as they look for a long-term replacement for veteran Fernandinho.

Pep Guardiola's side will join the queue alongside Liverpool, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

ROUND-UP

- Dortmund's Erling Haaland will not rush into a decision on his club future when a release clause of approximately £70m (€81m) takes effect in 2022 amid interest from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City,  claims 90min.

- Man City will rival Manchester United and look to complete a deal for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in 2022, reports The Sun. Rice is valued at £100m by the Hammers.

- The Daily Mail claims Alexandre Lacazette's future at Arsenal is in some doubt after the club reportedly tried to replace him during the recent transfer window.

- Free agent Dani Alves has been heavily linked with a move to Argentine giants Boca Juniors,  according to Marca.

- Barcelona have already tabled a contract extension offer to 18-year-old talent Ansu Fati,  reports Mundo Deportivo.

Dani Alves says winning Olympic gold is his greatest achievement in football after Brazil overcame Spain to reign at the Games once again.

Brazil secured back-to-back golds on Saturday, following on from their Rio 2016 triumph with a 2-1 victory after extra time.

Mikel Oyarzabal levelled to bring Spain back into the game after Matheus Cunha's opener but Malcolm came off the bench to capture Olympic glory.

Alves, a three-time Champions League winner who also has six LaLiga titles on his resume, proclaimed Tokyo to be his greatest success in football.

"To be sincere, yes," the 38-year-old responded when asked if this was his greatest prize. "Because the others are every year, and I have competed time and time again, but with this medal, this is my last chance. I won’t make it to Paris.

"This means a lot for me. Everybody trusted in me, and I knew this would be a once-only opportunity, to be able to enjoy this dream. It’s not every day that you become an Olympic athlete, and even less at the age of 38.

"And so I came here like everybody else, as a virgin, to this competition. I came with the boys to live the dream with them. And we have managed it, after a lot of effort and sacrifice, and we are taking the biggest prize back home, back to our people."

Captain Alves and his team-mates were reduced to tears at the full-time whistle as Brazil came out on top in a record-breaking fifth final appearance.

The last trophy missing from his illustrious collection of honours is the World Cup, so could he keep on going for his country?

"I’m a dreamer, a small dreamer, and more than a dreamer, somebody who executes their dreams," he said in response to questions about Qatar 2022.

"The most important thing is to fight, and that’s what I know what to do. I have the drive of a 23-year-old.

"I still want to do big things in football, and have respect for the profession, because when you have respect for your profession, it brings you great things, and which is what I'm living."

Brazil will defend their men's Olympic football title in the final thanks to a classy display of penalty-taking in a 4-1 shoot-out defeat of Mexico following a 0-0 draw after extra time.

The 2016 champions were pushed all the way by Jaime Lozano's side in Kashima but ultimately got the job done on penalties, successfully converting all four of their attempts to reach the final where they will face either Spain or Japan.

Guilherme Arana spurned the best chance of the first half in the 13th minute when he was denied by Guillermo Ochoa with just the goalkeeper in his way.

An even better opportunity looked set to fall Brazil's way soon after as Douglas Luiz was sent tumbling in the box, but the initial penalty award was overturned following a VAR review, with the Aston Villa midfield shown to have exaggerated contact with Jose Esquivel.

The second half was far tetchier, however, with opportunities a rare commodity at either end. The best Brazil could muster until the latter stages was a feeble Antony effort that caused Ochoa no concerns.

Ochoa was beaten in the 82nd minute but the post came to his rescue, with Richarlison's header coming off the inside of the upright but refusing to cross the line.

That saw the match go to extra time and rarely did either side look likely to make the breakthrough, with penalties long appearing a formality.

Eduardo Aguirre missed Mexico's first kick in the shoot-out after Dani Alves had converted, giving El Tri an uphill battle right from the start, and Johan Vasquez did no better with their second as he smashed against the post.

Charly Rodriguez at least got Mexico on the board, but Reinier followed the example set by Gabriel Martinelli and Bruno Guimaraes before him to slot home the decisive kick.

Dani Alves has been included with Neymar absent as Brazil named an 18-player squad to defend their gold medal at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Brazil's Olympics head coach Andre Jardine confirmed the squad on Thursday, with 38-year-old Sao Paulo full-back Alves one of three over-age players, along with Sevilla's Diego Carlos and Athletico PR goalkeeper Santos.

Former Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain star Alves, who has 118 international caps, was set to be part of Brazil's Copa America campaign but missed the showpiece CONMEBOL tournament due to a knee injury and will instead captain the Olympic side.

PSG star Neymar's absence is notable given he previously indicated he had wanted to be part of the Tokyo Games.

Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, Lyon's Bruno Guimaraes and Flamengo's Pedro have also been selected to represent Brazil.

Brazil won Olympic gold on home turf at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, with Neymar scoring the decisive penalty in a 5-4 shoot-out victory over Germany.

Jardine's side are grouped alongside Germany, Ivory Coast and Saudi Arabia in Group D for the Tokyo Olympics.

Brazil will face Germany in their opening game in Yokohama scheduled for July 22.

 

Brazil squad for Tokyo Olympics:

Santos (Athletico PR), Brenno (Gremio); Dani Alves (Sao Paulo), Gabriel Menino (Palmeiras), Guilherme Arana (Atletico Mineiro), Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal), Nino (Fluminense), Diego Carlos (Sevilla); Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Bruno Guimaraes (Lyon), Gerson (Flamengo), Claudinho (Red Bull Bragantino), Matheus Henrique (Gremio); Matheus Cunha (Hertha Berlin), Malcom (Zenit), Antony (Ajax), Paulinho (Bayer Leverkusen), Pedro (Flamengo).

Dani Alves regrets turning down the chance to play under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

The Brazil international opted to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 after leaving Juventus following a one-year spell in Italy.

He looks back fondly at his fine spell with PSG that led to six trophies including two Ligue 1 titles.

But Alves, who won two of his three Champions League crowns under Guardiola at Barcelona, now looks back and wishes he had taken a chance to work with the Catalan coach once more.

Alves, 38, told SporTV: "I regret not going to Manchester City to work with Guardiola again.

"When you are with people like him [Guardiola], who always finds a way out, it adds a lot to you. My regret was not having gone to work with him again.

"But not [regret] for PSG, because the story that I lived at PSG was incredible."

After spending two years with PSG, Alves is back in Brazil playing for Sao Paulo, who he joined in 2019.

City, meanwhile, face Chelsea on Saturday as they seek their first Champions League title.

Guardiola's side are the ninth different English team to reach a European Cup or Champions League final, at least three more than any other nation (Germany and Italy have six).

However, only one of the last 10 teams competing in their first final have won the competition (Borussia Dortmund against Juventus in 1997).

The last English team to win in their first final were Aston Villa in 1982 against Bayern Munich.

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