When I first heard the news that Dani Alves might be set for a sensational Camp Nou return, I dismissed it as nothing more than a stupid rumour.
Yet Barca confirmed on Friday night it’s a done deal and the Brazilian is coming back to the club for the rest of the season.
I can, just about, see the logic in the deal too, particularly if, as is being reported, he’s willing to play for the club for next to nothing.
He’s still as fit as a fiddle as he showed in the recent Olympic Games, and his experience will certainly be of value to Xavi, even if it’s only for a half season.
Moreover, as a dressing room presence, there’s nobody better to have in your corner.
The caveats as I see them are that this can’t be a start of a ‘jobs for the boys’ type scenario. Getting the band back together to try and recreate the glories of times gone by. It never works.
Furthermore, Alves, like any other player in the side, has to get in on merit and not because of any other reason.
Now that the dust has settled, if it’s clear that Xavi will follow through on punishments for any rule breakers, and he’ll push the players harder than they’ve been pushed in a while, then culers need to let him get to work.
Alves will have no issues whatsoever being the shining example, showing the youngsters that it isn’t just luck that has made him the most decorated footballer in history.
For those asking what he is getting out of it if he’s not benefitting financially, well, it’s obvious isn’t it?
Next year is a World Cup year, and the Brazilian has a stated aim of playing in the tournament for his country.
A move to Barca not only keeps him fit, but it ensures that he stays front and centre during the selection process.
Unless he’s unlucky enough to get any sort of long-term injury, then this move, if it comes off, really is looking like a win-win for the blaugranes.
Age is just a number, and anyone more concerned with the fact that he will be knocking on the door of his 40s next year should just park that thought to one side.
He should only be judged on his work-rate, output and value to the team, the same as his contemporaries.
As for Xavi and Joan Laporta taking a perceived risk... we have long been a laughing stock in European football, and the pair will completely understand more than anyone that it’s time the smiles were wiped off others’ faces.
Time to get down to business.