The players are judged on four factors on determining whether they are the perfect example of ‘The Engine’ namely work rate, pitch coverage and on and off the ball movement respectively. Following our look at Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez and AS Roma’s Daniele De Rossi, Goal now focuses on Dani Alves to examine how the full-back has played a pivotal role for the Blaugrana last term.
Alves has been a key cog in a very successful Barcelona side over the last few seasons and he once again played an instrumental role as the Catalans romped to another league title notching up a string of impressive performances along the way.
|Alves has been an ever-present for the Blagrana|
Alves made 46 appearances for the Blaugrana in the last campaign playing for a total of 3257 minutes in all completions. Thus being an ever-present for Tito Vilanova’s outfit.
The Brazilian was a tireless runner who constantly kept on bombing up and down the right flank and his energy was there for all to see. He was a keen contributor in both boxes. However, known for his propensity to get forward, it was in the attacking third that he was at his lethal best.
On the ball
As pointed out earlier, Alves needs no second invitation to get forward and it is precisely this attribute that makes him ideally suited to Barcelona’s style of possession football. Due to the Catalans style of play, it is Alves who provides the width down the right flank to punt in crosses.
The defender had a goal and six assists to his credit in the league and the Champions League last season and attempted 66.4 passes on average per game with a commendable pass completion rate of 87.4%. Also he has shot at goal 36 times with 9 of these being on target. Interestingly he was fouled on 55 occasions in all competitions, with most of these undoubtedly coming in the opposition half, once again illustrating his attacking threat.
Despite his relatively short stature, Alves is a strong, quick and technically gifted player who is adept at both running at defenders and stopping the marauding wingers. He delivered a total of 269 crosses into the box in all competitions last term. Additionally, he is a noted dead ball specialist and tried his luck on four occasions.
Off the ball
|Alves: Loves to get forward
Barcelona’s constant ball retention means that the Brazilian is seldom called on to defend, but nevertheless he does do his fair share of tracking back when needed. The defender committed a total of 89 fouls in all competitions last term and won the ball back on 329 occasions. He made 2.9 tackles and 1.4 clearances on an average in each game last season. Alves is truly the complete modern day full-back whose versatility makes him a presence across the pitch.
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