Report: To say Dani Alves began the 2012-13 season in bad form would be an understatement. He appeared to be lacking confidence and seemed slow, though running all day up and down the right flank didn't seem a problem, he just didn't look the same. The fact that he couldn't make an accurate cross if his life depended on it added to the frustration of Barça fans. I even went so far that I said to Goal.com that Alves was the most disappointing Barcelona player of the opening two months, even with Victor Valdes and Alexis Sanchez playing the way they were.
But maybe Alves read the article because he started playing much better after it was published. The fact that Dani also battled a nagging injury that forced him to miss two games also might have been a factor. Regardless, the thing that mattered was that the Brazilian's form improved and it basically didn't drop until after the Confederations Cup. Alves suffered another injury in late November, this one sidelining him for three matches.
Apart from the games missed because of injury Alves didn't get much time off. Barcelona played 60 competitive matches this season, of which Dani appeared in 47. Add to that five games missed due to injury and you figure out he was not used in only eight games the entire season. Considering the amount of running Alves does in each game that is too much playing time for the full-back, especially considering how good his backup, Martin Montoya, is.
Even though Alves improved remarkably in just about every aspect of the game after the first two months, his crossing remained, well, terrible. His high crosses more often than not sailed over everybody or even out of play. That, however, might have been the reason why Alves began using the low cross more this season. This proved to be a very dangerous weapon, especially over a little shorter distance, as he created many scoring chances this way.
Despite hit-and-miss crosses Alves remained a key attacking player. During years past he always had a very good understanding with Lionel Messi in the final third of the pitch, which didn't change, but toward the end of the season he and Alexis started combining very well, something that could be important next season.
Due to a change in Barcelona's system in which there are now two attacking full-backs, Alves was often blamed for goals that weren't his fault. Because of Jordi Alba's attacking duties the entire defensive line overcompensated to the left resulting in Alves often covering the opponents tallest player, which resulted in easy goals. This resulted in heavy critiquing of Alves, but it has to be said that this was a system failure and Alves had little power to make a difference.
Throughout the season Alves was also the starting right-back for the Brazilian national team. he made 14 appearances for the Seleção, including five at the Confederations Cup which Brazil won. Alves helped his teams cause with two assists.
Moment of the season: Alves was crucial in several Barcelona wins this season, most notably the ones against Deportivo la Coruña and Osasuna as well as the second leg against AC Milan. There were others as well, but in these he really stood out. However, Alves' moment of the season came in Moscow when he scored his only goal of the season - lowest total since his first season with Sevilla. A bad pass caromed its way to Alves who fired from outside of the box and into the far corner.
Spartak Moscow vs Barcelona 0 ~ 3 All Goals & Full highlights [Nov.20 2012] HQ (via llllIIIllIIllll)
|Started on the Bench
|Shots on Goal
|BB Community Rating*||6.51
*BB Community Rating represents the average rating (out of 10) Barca Blaugranes community members gave to the player for his performances throughout the season
Record with Dani Alves in the starting lineup: 29-7-7
2013-14 Outlook: As has been the case ever since he joined Barcelona in 2008, Alves will go into the season as the starting right-back. But this season more than ever before, he will have to look over his shoulder as Montoya will try to make a case for more playing time. Being on the wrong side of 30 Alves will probably also require more rest, meaning it us unlikely he will play as many minutes as he did this season.
Next Up: Javier Mascherano