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Brazil's Daniel Alves: The right, right-back for FC Barcelona

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Dani Alves is perhaps one of the most loved, and equally as hated, players on the squad of FC Barcelona. Throughout the years he has proven to be a valuable asset to the team, irreplaceable in attack, and a capable defender. To Cules he is without a doubt, a key player. As Dani Alves continues to ply his trade in Barcelona we have seen him grow into a capable defender that has helped his team win trophies as well as dispel his critics. However, Dani has recently gained acclaim among rival fans as a diver and he is being criticized based on personal opinions and not his triumphs on the field, an attack that is baseless and shameful.

When Dani first transferred to Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008, Alves was considered a record signing and currently is still the most expensive defender in the world. Barcelona payed a fee in the region of 30million for his services but looking back on how he has helped this team, that was money well spent.

Brazil has been known to produce outstanding wing backs that are equally adept at defending and attacking. Robert Carlos and Cafu, two legends of Brazil come to mind, and so Dani was bought with such expectations. He was to provide the overlapping runs and sturdy defense offered by his compatriots, to FC Barcelona. What he has proven to be instead, is a defender of exceptional attacking qualities that helps others on the team shine and also a reliable defender. Dani has not let the legend of the Brazilian fullback die down, he has only enhanced it.

Dani Alves is the complete attacking menace in the current Barcelona squad, so much is he feared that Jose Mourinho devised a plan to shut down Alves from making forward runs by assigning Cristiano Ronaldo the task of occupying Alves in defense, in the last Super Copa encounter. Alves offers Barcelona the width it sometimes needs in midfield and in attack. He often is the only man open to receive a pass when FC Barcelona's midfield is overrun. Alves has this knack of slowly creeping up on defenses by playing one-two passes as he slowly moves up the wing, by the time defenses react, he's usually assisting his partner in crime, Messi. By then it's too late, the ball is on it's way, and the opposing keeper has begun to pray he can par away the shot. The fact that Daniel Alves has carved out such a niche in Barcelona makes him irreplaceable in the starting eleven. Other wing backs have been bought to cover for Alves in his absence but none show quit the tenacity, daring, and energy, required to be the menace in all areas down the right flank. He is both the fourth midfielder and the fourth striker in the 4-3-3 system, such is the offensive power the Brazilian offers Barcelona.

Often Barcelona has suffered because Alves is human and he isn't the Flash, when possession is lost up field. At times his positioning has been questioned since teams try to exploit the gap he leaves behind when he sets out to attack. Alves has been criticized by many who have questioned his defensive abilities. Critics have pointed to Barcelona as the culprit that has accustomed Alves to being a lazy defender since he rarely has to defend in a squad that monopolizes possession. It is the reason why his more defensive oriented teammate in Brazil, Maicon, has been chosen ahead of him in the pecking order for La Selecao. Alves proved these critics wrong in the last Super Cup when he kept Ronaldo shut for the entire match. Not once was one of the best, considered by some as the best (most notably, defacto Real Madrid in-house paper, MARCA), player able to get past him in that match. His defensive abilities were on display for all to see as he always made the tackle to deny Ronaldo the cross or the space to help out Real Madrid. Alves can defend when pressed into doing so and there is no more discussion about it. Not many right backs playing today, can give Cristiano Ronaldo such a torrid night and so this must be highlighted and applauded. Undoubtedly one of the best performers in the Super Cup, much credit must be given to Alves for depriving Madrid of their most potent weapon, CR7. Ronaldo is a man accustomed to tormenting defenders and treating fullbacks like kindergarteners, but that night, Alves got the last laugh.

Dani Alves OWNS Cristiano Ronaldo ( Alves la pesadilla de Cristiano Ronaldo) (via blopaFCB)

What must be addressed is the unjustifiable accusations that have been brought against Alves as an overrated player and a diver. Overrated in what sense? He is the genuine attacking fullback. He has excellent control, excellent vision, he is a goal scoring threat, and he helps out his teammates with assists & overlaps. He is perfectly designed to thrive in a system such as Barcelona which is based on short, rapid passing, movement, and forceful attacking power. He can also produce stunning long range shots and goals, when given the opportunity. Recently, Alves has shown his capacity as a defender against some of the best talent available to any club and nation on earth. To still consider Dani Alves overrated is to not know how talented he truly is and how well he works in Barcelona. I cannot think of fullbacks that are as complete as Alves and if there are, they are countable on one hand. It's rare to find a fullback that can actually do everything. Most fullbacks are either more attack oriented or defensive oriented and one only needs to look at most European top teams to see which type is on hand. Dani Alves, like his teammates, is the total footballer, he can do all that is required by a player that is a top defender. In the mold of his predecessors Alves is a Brazilian marvel, and upholds that nations excellent tradition of producing exceptional fullbacks.

Dani Alves - Skills & Goals 2008/2009/2010 *NEW* [HD]

If not overrated then of course the only recourse of attack is to call a player a cheat. This is precisely the campaign Alves's critics have now chosen to attack the player on. It is the only criticism Alves himself has no control over and cannot disprove because it is not a fact, it's independent of a players influence over it, it's a personal opinion. The most effective form of criticism is one where the player cannot defend himself and this is where the accusation of cheating comes from. Alves no doubt has had his questionable moments on the pitch but then again which player has not? Every player will at some point in his career, be accused of diving. The fact of the matter is that foul to some is a dive to others, and this clash of opinions and views give the player no defense. Alves has proven that he can defend, that he can attack, but he cannot change our opinion. To criticize a player by calling him a cheat is very objective. We all think certain players, especially of the men in white, are divers. Just because we think it doesn't make it so, it is an opinion, and unfortunately the most effective way to degrade a great player such as Dani Alves. If all else fails, which it has in case of Dani, call him a cheat, and this is why such a great player is not given the recognition he deserves. This article is written to call attention to precisely that fact, that Dani Alves is a world class right-back and anyone questioning this fact, is simply ignorant.

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