Dani Alves’s eight years at FC Barcelona are about to come to an end, the Catalan club confirmed on Thursday.
The 33-year-old moved to the Catalan capital on a €35.5 million transfer from Sevilla in 2008, and has been Barcelona’s first choice right back ever since. However, the Brazilian is set to leave the Catalan club, with Juventus being tipped as the favourites to sign him.
“He renewed last season in special circumstances because we couldn’t sign players. At that moment it was a logical, normal decision, he’d had a great season,” Barcelona’s sporting director Robert Fernandez was quoted as saying in Spanish daily Sport. “He’s always behaved exquisitely, but now he has decided to leave. It’s a personal decision and nothing more – he’s already communicated to us his decision to leave the club.”
Alves’s current deal with Barcelona keeps him at the club till 2017, but he has a special clause in his contract, which allows him to leave as a free agent this summer.
“So that the player is happy, [Barça] sought favourable situations for everyone, and in this case it meant that he could leave for free after one year. In negotiations the club don’t always win,” said Fernandez. “I don’t like that Alves is going, he’s behaved fantastically on and off the pitch, but it is his decision and we have to respect it.”
Another ex-Sevilla star to fill Alves’s boots?
During his time at Barcelona, Alves has become one of the best right backs in the world, which is clearly why the club are not happy to let him leave. Even at the age of 33, Alves churned out consistent performances for the Catalans, helping them win the league and cup double.
However, with his departure comes the question as to who will replace him as Barcelona’s right back. The most obvious answer to this question is Aleix Vidal. The 26-year-old hails from the same club as Alves (Sevilla), and was brought in as a future replacement for the Brazilian.
While Vidal has not really shown any extraordinary form this season, he is expected to do much better next campaign. To be fair to the Spaniard, he had to sit out the first half of the 2015/16 season, as Barcelona had a transfer embargo imposed upon them. With proper pre-season training, we can expect Vidal to do much better from the 2016/17 campaign, as Barcelona try to move on without Alves.