Dani Alves can now make his second Barcelona debut after the club confirmed that he is officially registered.
The 38-year-old rejoined the Spanish giants in November on a deal until the end of the season. The move reunites him with new manager Xavi, whom he played alongside between 2007 and 2015.
Despite his advancing years, Alves can still significantly help Barca. In 2020, he captained the Brazil men’s national team to Olympic gold in Tokyo.
In addition, the full-back transitioned into a central midfield role with previous club Sao Paulo. That versatility could be critical for Barca in the upcoming weeks and months. The club are currently heavily affected by Covid-19, and the salary cuts in the summer mean that the squad is relatively thin anyway.
Alves has a penchant for the unpredictable. He is one of the best attacking full-backs of all time and is highly competent defensively. It could be argued that the Brazilian set the template for the all-action, ‘modern’ full-back with his bursting runs up and down the right flank.
He was also influential in the final third. He scored 21 goals in 391 appearances for the Spanish giants.
To commemorate the return of Dani Alves to Barcelona, we are looking back at one of the Brazilian’s most famous goals – against Real Madrid, no less.
Barcelona v Real Madrid – Copa del Rey, 2012
Barcelona and Real Madrid were likely getting sick of the sight of each other by January 2012. By the time their Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg came along, they’d already faced off four times that season.
Each game, however, was thrilling. In August, their two-legged Supercopa de Espana clash saw Barca win 5-4 on aggregate, three red cards awarded and Lionel Messi at his typical unstoppable best.
Pep Guardiola’s side then secured a vital 3-1 win at the Bernabeu in La Liga. Then, the two teams were drawn together in the Copa del Rey.
Barca recorded another away win in the first leg, defeating their fierce rivals 2-1. Pedro then put them 1-0 ahead going into half-time in the second leg, placing the reigning Champions League winners in control.
But if you thought Barcelona were going to stop there, you would be wrong. Step forward, Dani Alves.
On the stroke of half-time, Lassana Diarra blocked a Messi free-kick, and the ball worked its way out of the penalty area. However, standing there, waiting to pick up any scraps, was Alves. There were warning signs already as the Brazilian geared up to shoot. Anyone who has watched Alves knows the pure power in which he can strike the ball. But even by his standards, this was some hit.
He arched his body around the ball and smashed it with the outside of his right boot. The curl he put on the shot was incredible, and it flew perfectly into the top left corner. Not only was it picturesque, but Iker Casillas in the Real goal had absolutely no chance of saving it.
What happened afterwards?
Barcelona went into the half-time interval with a 4-1 lead, but they had to be on guard for a Real comeback. Jose Mourinho’s side duly provided it, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema getting on the scoresheet.
What was perhaps more remarkable was the amount of cards shown by the referee. Real received an incredible eight yellow cards. Sergio Ramos, unsurprisingly, was one of the offenders – and he received a second booking later on for good measure.
Los Cules managed to hold on for a 4-3 aggregate victory. They would eventually go on to reach the Copa del Rey final, prevailing 3-0 over Athletic Bilbao. It would be Pep Guardiola’s last trophy as Barca manager.
Dani Alves would miss the showpiece event due to a collarbone fracture. He would, however, make a full recovery in time for the beginning of the 2012/13 season. Once again, he would play a vital role in the side as Barca reclaimed the La Liga title from their biggest rivals.
Featured Image Credit: Getty