Barcelona coach Xavi was full of praise for Dani Alves after the Brazilian made his first appearance for the club since returning in the Maradona Cup friendly with Boca Juniors.
Alves played all 90 minutes and put in a lively showing. The Brazilian took over the captain’s armband at half-time from Clement Lenglet and scored in the penalty shoot-out.
Xavi spoke to reporters after the match and is confident Alves will bring a lot to the team in the second half of the 2021-22 season.
“Having Dani back is very positive for the team, everyone has seen that he will help us a lot, he is a sensational player, with team spirit, with character and soul,” he said.
“Together we have to raise our spirits and I’m the most responsible. But he will also help us in attack and in defence. He’s also able to make the difference with the final pass, so he’ll help us a lot.”
Xavi also insisted the match was a positive experience for his team despite the Catalans losing 4-2 on penalties. Barca had gone ahead through Ferran Jutgla but conceded a late equalizer and then suffered when it came to spot-kicks.
“Those who’ve played less, like Neto and Riqui, have played at a very good level,” he said.
“All the youngsters were good. They played with self-confidence, even though they played in different positions, like [Sergino] Dest.
“New positions and positive conclusions. Despite losing on penalties, we’re happy. It’s not important to lose on penalties, the important thing is to get in minutes.”
Source | Mundo Deportivo
Barca now head back to play their final two La Liga fixtures of 2021. Elche are up first at the Camp Nou before Barca head to Sevilla. Alves will sit out those two games but will be eligible to play in January 2022.