Diego Alves patiently awaits La Liga chance with Valencia

Since making his summer move to Valencia, goalkeeper Diego Alves has found a place in Unai Emery’s La Liga starting line-up hard to come by. Despite starting in both of Los Che’s Champions League group games so far, the Brazilian shot-stopper is yet to feature in the club’s League campaign.

Alves joined Valencia from Almeria back in May on a four year deal. The 26-year-old is believed to have cost the club around €3m, a discount fee due to Almeria’s relegation from Spain’s top tier. Alves, who has represented Brazil at youth level, spent four years at Almeria and made 120 appearances for the Andalucian outfit. The move saw him reunited with former Rojiblancos Coach Emery.

Upon signing, Alves stated: “It’s a dream to sign for a great European team and one that is going to play in the Champions League,” knowing he had a battle on his hands as he would be competing with Vicente Guaita for the No 1 spot at Mestalla.

Hi arrival has left Valencia with an extremely healthy goalkeeping situation, one that ensures that one of the highly-rated pair is left on the bench for every game. Alves has so far played second fiddle to Guaita in the League, but will no doubt be hoping to force his way into his Coach’s plans. However, it seems that the Brazilian is not overly concerned by his lack of La Liga minutes to date and is keeping a positive outlook on the situation.

“The decisions are made by the manager. The situation with us goalkeepers is the same for other positions; there are two or three players who still haven’t made their debut this season. We know that we are in the manager’s plans, and we are ready for when he calls upon us,” said Alves in a Press conference.

“I am ready for whatever the manager needs. If he wants me to be the Champions League goalkeeper then great. If he wants me to play in the League, then even better. We have to be ready for every situation that we will face during the season. I’m being given an opportunity to play and I have to make the most of it. I wasn’t signed to be the No 1 goalkeeper; I was signed to be another player who gives something to the team when needed.”

Alves received rave reviews last month following Valencia’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea in Group E of the Champions League. After keeping a clean sheet in the club’s first group game away at KRC Genk, he went on to give a display of remarkable split-second reactions against the English side, pulling off a string of stunning saves to deny Chelsea victory. He was praised by his opposite number Petr Cech after the game, who called his contribution ‘decisive’.

While remaining modest, Alves points to the fantastic work rate of his teammates, and it appears he is more focused on the team as a whole and their objectives for the season: “We have to have the ambition to achieve something big. Right now we are taking things game by game. We should treat each match as a final. We have to look to pick up points away from home as well as at Mestalla. The aim this year should be to fight for something big,” said the former Atletico Mineiro man.

The international break at the weekend came at the end of a tiring run of fixtures for Valencia and the summer signing welcomed the chance for the squad to have some time out from their packed calendar.

“When you are physically tired, mentally it is exhausting as well. We have played some games at an intense pace: Barcelona, Atletico, Genk, Sevilla, Chelsea and finally Granada. We aren’t machines, so we get tired. This international break is good for recharging our batteries. Our physical preparation is very important, and the staff here are doing all they can to have us in the best condition possible.”

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