Soccer-Alves still living the dream after presentation as Barca player


  • Football
  • Wednesday, 17 Nov 2021

Soccer Football - FC Barcelona unveil Dani Alves - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - November 17, 2021 FC Barcelona’s Dani Alves and president Joan Laporta react after signing the contract during the unveiling REUTERS/Albert Gea

(Reuters) - Barcelona's Brazilian defender Dani Alves received a rousing reception on Wednesday after being presented to supporters at the Nou Camp for the second time, joking that "I'm even more handsome now than when I left".

The 38-year-old right back, who wore an amber velvet suit, signed a contract until the end of the current campaign with club president Joan Laporta alongside him, before addressing around 10,000 fans in the stadium.

"Once again, I'm here. If you remember the last time that I took this microphone, it was to say that I didn't know when my dream would end.

"But I'm here again, still living the dream. You make me feel special, like one of you. This is something that is never is going to change.

"Long live Barca, long live Catalunya, long live the mothers who gave birth to you all."

Alves played for Barca from 2008-16, winning six LaLiga titles, three Champions League crowns and three Club World Cups among other major honours.

But the club had to sell their biggest star Lionel Messi before the season because of financial difficulties, and sit ninth in the league.

Alves will wear the number eight jersey in his second stint, and said he wanted to pay tribute to two club greats who had the same number.

"Everyone should honour the greats when they're still alive. So I'm going to wear number eight to show my appreciation to Andres Iniesta and Hristo Stoichkov," Alves said.

Asked at a news conference if he was willing to bring back other veterans such as Iniesta or Messi, Laporta left the door open.

"I don't rule it out," he said. "It happened with Alves, who made a big financial effort to come back. I can't read the future, they have contracts with other clubs. But you never know," he told a news conference.

Alves, who completed his medical this week, cannot play until January but will start training with his team mates this week. Despite playing a different role for Sao Paulo and the Brazil national team lately, Alves said he expected to play for Barca in his original position, right-back.

"I'm haven't come here on holiday. I came here to compete. I wasn't born to be second. I want to be first. Always. So I'm going to fight like I always did," he told reporters. "The expectations are high. My age is only a number."

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Shrivathsa Sridhar and Kevin Liffey)

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