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Dani Alves: “I’m going to fight to earn my place at right-back”

Yuste, Laporta, Dani Alves himself and Alemany during Alves’ official presentation at the Camp Nou / FC BARCELONA

After Dani Alves was officially presented to the supporters at the Camp Nou, the Brazilian and President Joan Laporta answered questions at the press conference

Dani Alves (38) returned to the Camp Nou for his second official FC Barcelona presentation. The Brazilian right-back appeared on the pitch wearing sandals and smiling like he always does. After thanking the fans for coming, Alves went back inside to the press room to answer questions from the journalists. President Joan Laporta was also present and opened the press conference:

“Thank you, Dani, for coming back to Barça. We will do it all again. It’s a day of joy and emotions like when Dani was at Barça. He is a self-made person, who has spirit and an impressive character wherever he goes. His presentation has been spectacular. It’s proof of how much Barcelona loves him.”

“Dani and I have maintained a friendly relationship and he told me that he wanted to come to play, to fight to win and to help the team that is currently being formed. Speaking with Yuste and Alemany we saw him play last year and we all agreed that he is a physically gifted person, with an extraordinary physique. When we signed him, at the meal we had with Dani and his people, I remember him telling me that he’s very fit because he runs 20km every day. That blew me away.”

“He’s an excellent person, he has a big heart and he will give us character, he loves to compete and he will infect the team with his attitude. He’s a winner, he’s the player with the most titles in history.”

Then it was time for Dani’s first words: “It’s a great honour and a great pleasure to be able to wear the Barça shirt again. A long time ago I had the opportunity to experience the most beautiful things that I could possibly experience as a footballer and now I have the opportunity to experience it all again. We’ve already started to build and rebuild the team. This place was made for special moments and that’s why we’re more than a club.” After the opening statements, there was time for questions.

Dani Alves kissing the badge during his presentation / DAVID RAMOS VIA GETTY IMAGES

About how it feels to return to Barcelona:

“The last few days have been very special. Being able to enter the locker room and see my teammates who continue to fight. They’ve made me feel at home, without a doubt, meeting young players who are also trying to be professionals and defend these colours gives me great satisfaction. It reminded me of my own experiences here. I hope I can give a little joy and hope to them. Recently, the team has been surrounded by negative things and it’s time for that to change. To change, you have to be positive and not look at the problem but at the solution. That’s our ambition. We can only do this together. It’s time to get everyone together and we’ll start winning again. The challenge is great but the desire is much greater.”

“Everything I do will be for the good of FC Barcelona.”

About what has changed since he left the club:

“I always say that there are a lot of things that change and improve. But there is one thing that doesn’t change, which is the desire and the spirit to fight. I have a little less hair but the desire remains the same because I know what the club represents, its history and its colours.”

About his low salary:

“This club has given me everything I have. I don’t see helping as an obligation but as a pleasure. People focus on the salary but for me, it’s not important. I have never had anything and I am satisfied with very little. This is not the time to think about that, it’s time to return and help Barça, and be part of the transformation. The rest is very simple because I didn’t even have to think about it. The rest is secondary when you receive a call from Barça.”

About having goals of being a starter:

“I always want to be the best and I come to fight, I didn’t come here just to spend time in Barcelona. I come to play and to fight for a position and the right to play. It’s not because I have a history here or a very good relationship with the coach or the president. With my hard work, I’m going to fight and try to contribute from the inside and from the outside. Since I’ve been here, age is just a number. You see many other older players in football having great performances and that’s my goal.”

“We talked about it and I come to play as a right-back, but I can also do other things at a collective level. At the moment I’m training as a right-back and I’m fighting to earn my spot.”

Dani Alves answering questions during the press conference of his presentation / PAU BARRENA / AFP

About Leo Messi and Andrés Iniesta not being at the club anymore:

“Give me some time and I’ll go find Messi (laughs). These stories will always be remembered. Leo is the greatest player I’ve seen and have as a mate. The best players are always missed the most, especially when you have a good relationship. It would be incredible to see him like that again but unfortunately, it can’t be that way. He knows that I love him and his family very much and I wish him the best, but we’re now in a new process. I would encourage anyone to come back, I’ve been to many places but there’s nowhere like here.”

Laporta: “Messi and Iniesta returning? I’m not ruling it out. It happened with Dani Alves. Age is just a number. He has seen the situation and wants to help and start games. I have to thank him for making a significant financial effort. He knows about the situation and we’re going to reverse it. We are on the right way. All the Culers, today it’s Dani, tomorrow it could be others, they’re personalities that have made the club great and Leo and Iniesta are two spectacular players. I can’t predict the future, they’re still playing, they’re Barça greats. They’ve made the club great, we always have them in mind but they’re players with a contract at other clubs and that must be respected, but in life, you never know.”

About his opinion on the current team:

Alves: “I see a good team, with a lot of young players who can still improve. We can make a better team, that’s the Barça brand, do things as a team in a different way than other teams, with everyone playing in harmony. Barcelona must have the ball and we need to have the feeling that the ball is ours. We set the rules of the game and that’s what must be reinstalled. We always have to perform and there are many good players who can contribute. I come to contribute, individuality in team sports isn’t good. I’m sure that we’ll return to enjoying and conquering trophies. That’s the spirit that we have to implement.”

About having Xavi as a coach:

“With Xavi as a coach, it’s worse to give a wrong pass than to lose a sprint. I remember one of his games where he didn’t misplace a single pass. He’s going to be strict about this aspect of the game. Life takes many turns. Who would’ve predicted that someone who was my teammate for so long would now be my coach? But when it comes to doing great things, good people always come together.”

About Ousmane Dembélé:

“In the position in front of me, with Dembélé there’s an exceptional player who needs to understand what it is to play for Barcelona. He’s very good, he’s a hell of a player and he can help Barcelona a lot. He can do great things.”