opinions | 2017-05-26
Dani Alves success at Juventus reflects on Barcelona's management
The right back shines for the Italians when it matters the most as Barça struggled with the position for the entire season
When Massimiliano Allegri's back line kept the world renowned Messi-Suárez-Neymar front-line trio at loss for 180 minutes in this years' Champions League quarterfinals, they became the first European club to keep two consecutive clean sheets in a knockout tournament against Barcelona since the Bayern Munich 7-0 thrashing back in 2013. But that wasn't meant to be the last time culés would look at Juventus and regrets would arise as a certain Brazilian right back stood out for the Italians on both legs vs Monaco, guaranteeing a place in Cardiff for the dreamed final.
After winning 23 trophies at Barcelona, Dani Alves made the switch to Juventus at the end of June last year on a free transfer and now has a fourth Champions League medal in his sights. Alves has opened up about his move to the Serie A champions recently and came across as a man who look frustrated with how he was treated by the Barça board in his last years in Catalonia, but also seeking to find himself in his new home. While performances on the pitch have no doubt been competent, off it he spoke of a rather dry atmosphere in the Vecchia Signora (Old Lady) dressing room.
With Sergio Roberto cajoled into filling in at an unfamiliar right-back position in both telling fixtures against Juventus, Alves looked composed alongside a steadfast Italian defence that Gerard Pique labelled a "mountain". Alves then went on to roll back the years' pushing forward to meet a punched clearance to volley home, scoring his first goal in a European semifinal, making Real Madrid the last stone in the way of what could his the third (!) treble of his career.
Juventus are currently evens to triumph in Cardiff, so punters may look to take advantage of free bets such as the "bet £10, get £30" welcome offer available at various bookmakers via Oddschecker to enhance their stakes.
Barcelona's emphatic collapse against PSG supposedly symbolised the end to their era of dominance, but after doing the impossible at home, against Juventus they were expected to sneak through a close fought tie. What all four matches had in common was how lacklustre the team looked tactically, especially on the right side where Dani Alves used to play.
In times such as these, where we saw an incredibly tight La Liga title race ending in disappointment and tough European clashes far from home, the absence of a player such as Alves was felt in the dressing room. A self-confessed maverick, it should be questioned why those in charge wanted the 34-year-old out of the picture as he has clearly shown he could enter the renowned group of quality ageing fullbacks such as Maldini, Cafu, Evra or Lahm.
With notably three of those based in Italy during their career twilight, it's Lahm that could have shown the pathway as to how to utilize a worthwhile veteran when you're not in Italy. While replacements such as Serge Aurier or even Kyle Walker are being touted, it's not unreasonable to say that the Brazilian should've been celebrated and given the respect he deserved from the club's management.
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