How Dani Alves almost signed for Real Madrid instead of Barcelona

Dani Alves Juventus Champions League Final press conference
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The Juventus right-back is a Barcelona legend and is eager to beat Los Blancos on Saturday, but he could have ended up wearing white and not blaugrana


Dani Alves is desperate to beat Real Madrid on Saturday. The Brazilian spent eight years at Barcelona and has more victories against Los Blancos than any other player. But had things been different, the Juventus right-back could have been turning out on the opposite side in Cardiff.

Beating Barca was bittersweet, says Alves

Alves spiced up Saturday's match by remembering the last Champions League final between Madrid and Juventus, which the Spanish side won in 1998 thanks to a solitary strike from Predrag Mijatovic. "That goal was offside," he said in Friday's pre-match press conference.

Replays of the goal seem to suggest he was right, although none of those show the position of Gianluca Pessotto, who seconds earlier had been standing close to the corner flag and may have played the former Yugoslavia striker on.

In any case, Alves also recalled how he had helped to deny Madrid from winning the Champions League in 2011 as Barca beat Los Blancos in the semi-finals. "I stopped them from winning a cup and now I have the opportunity to stop them from claiming another," he said.

Dani Alves Barcelona stats

With eight victories over Madrid during his time at Sevilla and 14 in his spell at Barcelona, Alves has beaten Los Blancos more than any other player in football history. Asked about that stat on Friday, he said: "I hope it scares them!"

Barca still miss me - Alves

But while he was a Sevilla player, Alves was desperate to join one of Europe's elite teams. In 2007, he fell out with president Jose Maria del Nido after the club chief refused a number of offers from Chelsea and also expressed an interest in moving to Real.

After winning the Copa del Rey against Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu, he was asked if he would like to join Madrid and said: "That would be a wonderful reward." And asked about the Bernabeu dressing room where he had changed with Sevilla, he said: "It's the best dressing room in the world."

Barcelona - Dani Alves Lionel Messi

Dani Alves Barcelona press conference 23112015

After coming close to a move to Chelsea later that summer and falling out with Del Nido, Alves made peace with the Andalusian club following the tragic death of team-mate Antonio Puerta and ended up staying for one more season at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Alves rules out Barcelona return

In the summer of 2008, however, he was keen to leave for bigger things and it was Madrid (champions for the previous two seasons) that led the race for his signature before Barca and Pep Guardiola came in to take him to Camp Nou in a €30 million deal that ended up being brilliant business for the Catalan club.

And not least because they beat Madrid to his signing. "I have never hidden the fact that it was virtually all done with Madrid," Alves said last year. "But luckily I was able to come to Barca instead."

So a rivalry grew over his eight seasons at Camp Nou and that gives the Brazilian an added incentive to win this final. He will always be linked to Barca now, while he knows better than anyone what it is like to beat Real - and that could be very useful indeed to Juventus in the Cardiff clash on Saturday.