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Getting To Know: Dani Alves

Full name: Daniel Alves da Silva
Squad No: 2
Position: Right back
Date of birth: 6 May 1983
Place of birth: Juazeiro, Brazil
Height: 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight: 64 kg (141 lbs)

Dani grew up in Juazeiro, a small town in eastern Brazil in the state of Bahia and started playing football in the Juazeiro Social Club. When he was 15 he moved away from his parents to the city and joined the Esporte Clube Bahia. He played his youth football there and made his professional debut three years later. His team won 3-0 with Alves adding two assists, once winning a penalty kick. His performance was good enough to earn him a starting place in the team. He played 25 games for Bahia's first team and scored two goals. Only a year later, in 2002, he was approached by Sevilla FC and he joined them on loan.

The following season the transfer was finalized and Bahia received 800.000 euros for the Brazilian. Here Alves made a name for himself and he was an integral part of the 2005-06 UEFA Cup winning team. He appeared in 246 games for the Andalusian team and scored 16 times. He also acquired Spanish citizenship making him an even more attractive target for European giants as he would not require a work permit thus bypassing any non-EU quota restrictions. Twice he was expected to sign with English teams, with Liverpool and Chelsea, but both times transfer fee money was the deal breaker.

Sevilla finally found a team willing to pay enough in FC Barcelona and Dani Alves joined the team on 2 July 2008. Teams agreed on a €32 million transfer fee plus several million in add-ons depending on performance related factors, making him the most expensive defender in the world. Alves fit immediately in the Guardiola led squad and made his European debut against Wisła Kraków in the Champions League and his first La Liga appearance against Numancia. For Barcelona he has played 126 times and scored on 10 occasions.

His first official international appearance with Brazil came in a friendly against Ecuador. Despite being one of the best (some say the best) right back in the world, he cannot take over the starting right back spot, held by Maicon. Overall he has earned 40 caps and has three goals for the Seleção.

Profile
Alves uses his speed to command the whole right side of the field; he can shoot with both feet and is known for his exceptional crossing ability. He is a tireless runner and is always one of the players who cover the most ground. However, he has been accused of neglecting his defensive responsibilities, trying to do too much on the attack, but those comments should be taken lightly considering he was voted defenseman of the year.

Honors

Esporte Clube Bahia

  • Campeonato do Nardeste (2): 2001, 2002

  • Campeonato Baiano (1): 2001

Sevilla FC

  • Spanish Cup (1): 2006-07

  • Spanish Super Cup (1): 2007

  • UEFA Cup (2): 2005-06, 2006-07

  • UEFA Super Cup (1): 2006

  • UEFA Cup MVP (1): 2005-06

  • UEFA Super Cup MVP (1): 2006

  • UEFA Team of the Year (1): 2007

FC Barcelona

  • Spanish League (2): 2008-09, 2009-10

  • Spanish Cup (1): 2008-09

  • Spanish Super Cup (2): 2009, 2010

  • UEFA Champions League (1): 2008-09

  • UEFA Super Cup (1): 2009

  • FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2009

  • UEFA Team of the Year (1): 2009

  • La Liga's Best Defender (1): 2009

Brazil

  • FIFA World Youth Championship (1): 2003

  • Copa América (1): 2007

  • FIFA Confederations Cup (1): 2009

Alves' current contract ends after the 2011-12 season and while contract extension talks are ongoing, the two sides appear to be far apart.

Next up: Gerard Piqué