Report: Daniel Alves has been spoiling Barcelona fans since he joined the club in 2008. Darting runs down the right flank with pinpoint crosses into the penalty area were his signature moves. All that while remaining responsible at the back. This season was a bit different - but not by much.
When he was actually playing at his natural right-back position that is. His speed, agility, and tirelessness come to full effect there, and there Alves was himself, well, almost. He was helping out in attack whenever possible and was linking up well with Lionel Messi. When it comes to accuracy of crosses the story isn't so positive, especially when it comes to high crosses as they were mostly well over everybody's heads or even behind the goalline. I'm not saying they were all bad because they weren't but at the beginning of Alves' Blaugrana career his crosses always seemed to find the intended target.
When Alves was asked to play defense in a three man backline he also performed admirably, showing he can cover anybody. When put in that situation he had limited offensive responsibilities and was therefore restricted to distributing the ball from a deeper position, a task he performed to perfection.
The biggest problem with Alves' game this season was technically not even his fault. With injuries forcing Pep Guardiola to play with only three defenders the manager decided Alves' offensive abilities were to good to keep tucked away in defense and often put him on the right wing. One would think that for a guy that spends a lot of time there anyway it would be a seamless transition. But it wasn't. Alves suddenly looked lost, he couldn't dribble past anybody and he lost possession more often than usually.
The bad performances led to his benching in arguably the most important game of the season, the 2nd leg of the UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals. Alves' form started to pick up after what I would call a season low for him but then he was sidelined by a broken collarbone that kept him out of the Copa del Rey final and prematurely ended his season.
Drawing a line under Alves' season and looking at the stats you would still say he had a very good season but this season the "eye-test" shows you he could've done so much more had he just been playing at right-back.
Fcbsoul's View: If you look at Alves's season and compare it with previous ones you can say that it was not upto the high standards he has set for himself. But at the same time you look at Valdes, even though he has the least goals conceded we will say that his seasons performance was not spectacular. The same goes for Alves. Im repeating things again and again it seems. Everyone is allowed a few mistakes here and there. This season he was more instrumental in defense than in attack.
The reason being simple, teams started parking the bus and his crosses were nullified many times. The moment Cuenca was brought on the RW you could see the difference. Alves with the back to his spectacular self, Mascherano could set him up the field at a more attacking position, and if teams opted against parking the bus , you could say that the RW was properly utilized. I don't rate players so i won't give any numbers but in my opinion he had a good season and played his part well. With many attackers lining up next season hopefully Alves will be able to play the actual full-back role so that the RW will have 2 players instead of only Alves (which could be the reason of his attack getting blocked more).
Moment of the Season: Dani Alves gets on the scoreboard quite often considering he's a defender, actually he's the defenses leading scorer since he joined Barcelona four seasons ago, and he has a knack to score absolute stunners. Last season he scored a beauty against Getafe and this season he upped the ante as he scored not one but two golazos. Both were in contention for the Barca Blaugranes Best Individual Goal Award. The one against Real Madrid gets the most attention because of its importance and the opponent but the goal Alves scored against Mallorca combined everything a perfect long range strike has to have: accuracy, power and control.
Golazo de Dani Alves vs Mallorca 5-0 HD (via enzoriverplatense)
|Started on the bench||8
|Shots on goal||22|
Record with Dani Alves in the starting lineup: 30-11-4
2012/13 Outlook: For some reason there was a lot of speculation about Barcelona wanting to sell Alves and starting next season with somebody new at right-back but that has been put to rest by both Tito Vilanova and Andoni Zubizatreta who said that Dani is not for sale. This means Alves will continue to torment the oppositions left side game in and game out. Alves barely got any days off in the past four season but that might change next season with the promotion of Martin Montoya. If anybody deserves some games off it's Alves.
Next Up: Eric Abidal