Dani Alves: ‘Juve 60-40 chance’


Dani Alves admits he will be emotional facing “best team in the world” Barcelona, but Juventus have “a 60-40 chance of going through.”

The second leg of the Champions League quarter-final kicks off on Wednesday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) after a 3-0 first leg victory in Turin.

It is a return to Camp Nou for the Brazilian full-back, who turns 34 next month, as he was at Barcelona from 2008 to 2016.

“This is like my presentation!” joked Dani Alves when the photographers crowded around him in the Press room.

“It’s very emotional being back here. I did not have the opportunity to come back and tread on the Camp Nou turf. I think we’ve got a 60-40 chance of qualification, to show due respect, but we know that all games are tough at Camp Nou and we want to score goals, not just think of defending. We intend to hurt Barca and a goal would make a big difference in this tie.

“At the end of last season we had achieved something remarkable. I said that I had been happy, that I’d be happy to remain, because I am still a Barca supporter from afar, but my career required me to go elsewhere.

“Now I keep Barca in a special corner of my heart, but that needs to be separated from the professionalism at a certain point.”

Dani Alves was asked about the slightly bitter comments he made when leaving the Blaugrana last summer.

“I just wanted to express what I was feeling inside me. I don’t like to keep bad energy trapped inside me, as that would make life bad. I am sorry if someone felt offended, but I simply wanted to get out this bitter-sweet sensation at my departure from Barcelona. I did feel that I was slightly pushed out.

“I used the media in Madrid to express that because I knew they would not manipulate what I said, whereas the media in Barcelona may well have manipulated it.”

Would Dani Alves return to Camp Nou as a player?

“I always give 100 per cent with every club I play for. It was wonderful here, but I think coming back to Barca would need the change of many things, including people’s egos, to recognise the mistakes made.

“Some people loved me in Barcelona and some didn’t. The Catalans are special people, my lifestyle doesn’t really fit in with what they like or what they think it ought to be. I don’t know what the reception will be tomorrow, but I am happy to be back at somewhere I considered my home, even as a rival.”

He was asked what it was like playing with Gonzalo Higuain.

“It’s a great to play alongside figures of this quality, to give your team the chance to continue creating history in football. It’s a privilege and I hope the second leg is similar to the first, so we can challenge at that level.

“When you play at this level, you have to put together all the positive and negative experiences, those of your teammates, and they keep you active, ensuring you are ready for a night of great football, to play at the limits.

“I have no regrets in life, usually, but it’s true that I have sentiments and nostalgia here. That may well have happened, but as I said, I am a professional, I was signed by Juventus to defend their colours and while I am here, I keep that corner of my past locked away.

“I am trying to detach myself from those emotions and it’s tough, but it is what a professional must do.”

Have some of his Juventus teammates asked how to deal with the Camp Nou atmosphere?

“No, nobody asked me. We have a technically gifted side and all my teammates know we must put in an enormous effort, but also that it’s worth it.

“If we overcome Barca, and I hope we do, then I think we’ll be eliminating the best team in the world.

“It’s inevitable that when you see people who have five league titles, you absorb and learn. It’s not as if I know better than them, it’s that we all have to unite our experiences and capabilities to give Juventus the dream of winning the Champions League after 21 years.

“I live for dreams and to make them come true. When I was told that Juve hadn’t won this trophy for such a long time, I was intrigued and eager to help Juventus achieve that dream.”

Luis Enrique was almost surprised to see Dani Alves fight for every ball in the first leg.

“My method of experiencing football is about learning from all those you play with and teach them something too. I have my way of working, which could set the example for younger players. I work with great intensity and that allowed me to write my name in rock, because no man or time can take that away. This is my approach to life and to my work.”

Does Dani Alves fear Andres Iniesta and Leo Messi could follow him out of Camp Nou?

“I think everyone here deserves a statue. It’s important that clubs appreciate people and not just shove them aside when they are no longer needed.”

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