Dani Alves admits pulling on a Barcelona shirt again will make him feel like a “superhero”, with the Brazilian defender securing an emotional return to Camp Nou at the third time of asking.
At 38 years of age, and having brought an initial eight-year stint in Catalunya to a close back in 2016, the right-back finds himself in familiar surroundings alongside former team-mate Xavi.
Alves is relishing an unexpected second opportunity with the Liga heavyweights and remains convinced that, despite all of their recent troubles, Barca are still “the best club in the world”.
What has been said?
After passing his medical, Alves told BarcaTV+: “I’m still shocked. As I had said publicly, I had been trying to return for a long time. I tried twice to return, but it wasn’t possible.
"Now, to return to work with people who know about my commitment on and off the pitch is a pleasure and a privilege.
“I always say that there are two shirts that make me feel like a superhero when I wear them: Brazil and Barcelona shirts. To wear this shirt again gives me a boost of strength and adrenaline. I hope I can transmit that to my team-mates.
“My nicest memories in football happened here at Barcelona. My home is here in Barcelona, my closest relatives live here in Barcelona, so it was inevitable that I returned to Barcelona.
"The pleasant surprise is to come back as a player, but if not I would still have returned to Barcelona because it’s a fascinating city that I love.
“We need to believe that we are Barcelona, the best club in the world. Sometimes it sounds demagogic to say ‘it’s the best club in the world’, but I’ve been elsewhere and I know what I’m saying: this is the best club in the world, Barcelona is unique.
“I’m not saying it just because I’m here. Those who have left know what I’m talking about. To be here is a great honour.”
Alves’ record at Barcelona
Across eight memorable years after signing from Sevilla in 2008, the South American star collected 23 trophies with the Blaugrana with that haul including six Liga titles and three Champions League crowns.
He made 391 appearances for the club in total, scoring 21 goals, and formed part of star-studded sides under Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique that also boasted the talents of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.