Goal.com 50: Daniel Alves (6)

The top five of Goal.com’s 50 best players of 2008-09 beckons. But hovering just outside the crème of the crop is Barcelona and Brazil’s quadruple champion, Dani Alves.

7. Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United & Serbia)

6. DANIEL ALVES (Barcelona & Brazil)

Daniel Alves is unquestionably one of the most flamboyant full-backs in football today. And following his move from Sevilla to Barcelona in the summer of 2008 for a reported upfront fee of €29 million, plus an additional €6 million based on performances, he became the most expensive right-back in the world. Although, if you believe Sevilla president, Jose Maria del Nido, the buccaneering Brazilian actually cost €41 million in total.

But whatever the price, he was worth every euro for Barcelona.

Dani boy slipped in seamlessly and blended into his new, star-studded team as he impressed right from the word go, making it look as though he had been playing with the side for years. His style fitted perfectly into coach Pep Guardiola’s footballing philosophies.

Like any good Brazilian full-back, he has a thunderbolt of a free kick, one that doesn’t always guarantee goals but is sure to leave tongues wagging when it does end up in the back of the net.

His often telepathic partnership with Lionel Messi down the right wing was a joy to behold last term, as the duo would constantly trade one-twos, overlap each other’s runs and carve open defences like a double-headed axe through melting butter.

It was little surprise then that the 26-year-old was able to boast nine assists and five goals in total in La Liga last term - a typically noteworthy haul for a full-back who loves charging forward. But he’s not all about reckless attacking. He also defends diligently, and although he doesn’t have the searing pace of a Roberto Carlos, he’s still incredibly quick and he has the stamina of a horse.

What is even more vital to his game is his phenomenal fitness levels. He hardly ever gets injured or needs extra time to recharge his batteries, completing the 2008-09 campaign having played 34 league matches, eight Copa matches and 12 in the Champions League.


High Flyer | Dani goes soaring through the air

However, all his hard work throughout the season came to a rather anti-climatic end for him personally when he was forced to sit out the show-piece final of Europe’s blue ribbon club competition against Manchester United due to suspension.

Still, his immense contribution and involvement throughout the campaign helped Barcelona to an historic treble, and one of his most significant but unheralded exploits was providing the decisive cross that led to Andres Iniesta’s at-the-death goal in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea.

Despite his achievements, he was, and in a way still is, very much the second choice right-back with the Brazilian national team. It wasn’t until Maicon’s season-ending injury in March that Alves get a chance to prove his worth.

But just as he did for Barca, he impressed straight away with the Selecao, and in the subsequent qualifiers against Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay, he made two assists and scored one goal.

He brought his 2008-09 programme to a close with a victory in the FIFA Confederations Cup to add to his three pieces of silverware for Barcelona. Although he only played little over 20 minutes in the final against the USA, he scored the all-important winning goal for Brazil against South Africa in the semi-finals.

Having won everything last season, Dani Alves will be striving to double his trophy count next term and cap everything off with the big one: the World Cup. He will also look to cement his status as the best right-back on the planet.

2008-09 HONOURS

Barcelona

Primera Division, 2008-2009
Copa del Rey, 2009
UEFA Champions League, 2009

Brazil

FIFA Confederations Cup, 2009

KS Leong, Goal.com

7. Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United & Serbia)

6. DANIEL ALVES (Barcelona & Brazil)