Barcelona’s Brazilian full-back Dani Alves has put pen to paper on a contract extension that will see him remain in Catalunya until June 2015. As part of the extension, a buyout clause has been included to the tune of a massive €150 million.
The 27 year-old has been a near ever-present for Pep Guardiola’s side this season and Sporting Director and former Barcelona goalkeeper Andoni Zubizaretta paid tribute to the player: “He
Zubizarreta was also clear on how important a cog the Brazilian was to the Barcelona set-up: “We have looked at the market and there is nobody like him, he’s unique in his position”, he said.
Unique is one of the many words used to describe Alves at the moment. He is seen by many to be one of the best right full-backs in the world and if ever there was a player that suited the definition ‘marauding full-back’ then that player would most certainly be Dani Alves. Comparisons with other talented and, by definition, Brazilian full-backs like Cafu or Carlos Alberto would not be lost on the former Sevilla man.
He spent six years in Andalucia where he won a whole host of medals including back-to-back UEFA Cups, a Copa del Rey and the European Super Cup. Considered one of the heroes of that side that Juande Ramos built, the Brazilian is applauded whenever he returns to the Roman Sanchez Pizjuan. Since signing for the Catalan giants in 2008, Alves has made 141 appearances for the club but has not been such a regular feature for Brazil, with Maicon providing strong competition for the right-back slot.
Few could argue with his explosive impact on the team: he is sometimes confused for a winger such is his position so high up the pitch, always prowling on the edge of the opposition 18-yard box. His support play and crossing ability are a huge part of his attacking armoury while his pace enables him to charge up and down the right flank depending on where the team are on the pitch.
While he may have only scored two goals this season and eleven overall in the colours of la Blaugrana, his ability to set up his team-mates is where his strength really lies. His tally of over 50 assists this season alone is a phenomenal total and only Xavi Hernandez with all his creative and influential magic has more.
Elsewhere, Barcelona’s club doctors have announced that defender Eric Abidal’s recent operation was a complete success and his post-procedure progress is satisfactory. The Frenchman went under the knife last week to remove a tumour from his liver. Doctors predict that after around a month of recovery at home, Abidal could be back in training before the end of the season.