Dani Alves: “Barça’s values make it unique”

Dani Alves with FIFA Ballon d'Or of Lionel Messi / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
In an interview on FIFA.com, the Barça full back insists that being a part of FC Barcelona is a privilege:“ it is the best Club and the best team in the world”.

Dani Alves features in an interview on FIFA.com this Monday. The Brazilian is one of five Barça players in the FIFA 2012 World XI and explained how proud he was to be voted as part of that team: “it comes from people who know the job and how difficult it is. They know what they’re talking about and that’s what makes it special and I know very well that there are a lot of players who could be here in my place. That’s why I feel so privileged”. Alves also admitted: “obviously, it’s easier to pick up individual awards when you play for a great side in a team sport”.

And Alves is clear that he certainly is part of a great team: “(the Club) has got values that virtually no other club has, and that’s what makes it unique. Every one of us in this Barcelona side today should feel privileged. Playing for this club is good for your health, good for everything, and you really find out what human, footballing and competitive values are all about. It’s the best club and the best team in the world, without question”.

Success comes from years of hard work

Alves went on to explain his sensations when he joined the Club: “I thought it was strange that they didn’t sign players on the strength of their reputation or how famous they are. They do the opposite. When they sign someone they think about where he’d fit in the side and the job he can do. And when you’ve got foundations like that you’re only going to grow as a team. It’s not something you can do in a couple of days. It takes years and years and years. If you look at the signings they make, they just buy what they need. The rest of the players are all from the youth set-up. They made a commitment to it and the results are there. We’ve got two team-mates fighting it out for the Ballon d’Or, which just goes to show the quality that’s there, and all without spending astronomical amounts on players”.

Asked if he’d encouraged his fellow Brazilian Neymar to join Barça, Alves replied: “Yes, you bet. I’ve been at it for ages! When the rumours of him making a move to Europe started I told him he should come to Barcelona. It’s more than a club. The motto says it all: they look after you, they pamper you and they always treat you and your family well”.

Excited about Brazil’s World Cup chances

Alves and Neymar will almost certainly be part of Brazil’s attempt to take the World Cup which they host next year and Alves admitted there’ll be plenty of pressure on the team to perform in front of their home fans: “It’s true that we’ve got some young players, but they’ve got experience and they’ve won things with their clubs. To my mind the kick you get out of playing for your country in such big competitions more than makes up for any problems it might involve. We’re excited about it more than anything else”.

20 players in Barça squad for Milan trip

Xavi Hernández at Last Training Session / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Xavi Hernández fit and in Jordi Roura’s squad. Adriano, hamstring, and Villa miss out on the Milan trip

Squad for trip to Milan

Valdés, Pinto, Oier, Alves, Piqué, Fàbregas, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Alexis, Messi, Thiago, Mascherano, Bartra, Sergio, Pedro, Jordi Alba, Montoya, Song and Tello

Jordi Roura has called up 20 players for the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie against AC Milan on Wednesday. The players will travel to Italy on Tuesday and train in Milan on Tuesday evening.

The squad trained with the official Champions League ball this Monday and Roura was able to check out the fitness of Xavi Hernández and David Villa, who worked with the rest of the group. Xavi has been given the medical okay to travel, whilst Roura and Villa agreed that he would stay in Barcelona to continue training to build up his strength following his renal colic attack last week.

Adriano Correia, who has a problem with his right hamstring, worked with the physiotherapist and will also miss out on Wednesday’s game, whilst Barça B youngster Oier Olazábal also took part in the session and is included in the 20-man squad.

 

Milan vs FC Barcelona: Champions League's Match Preview #UCL

Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández at San Siro Stadium / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
All details about the Champions League Match at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium

– Carles Puyol a constant presence against Milan

– Nine years of smiles against AC Milan

– The Milan-Barcelona motorway: Players who have made the journey from one team to the other

– Xavi Hernández: “Milan is a great team, with seven European Cups”

– Bojan on the UCL showdown with Barça: “It will be complicated, we’re playing against the best team in the world”

.@Carles5puyol a constant presence against Milan

Puyol and Gattuso in 2005/06 / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Barça captain has appeared in the last nine matches played against AC Milan. Except for last season’s group stage match, he has featured in every starting line-up.

Puyol’s first game against Milan, on 18th October 2000, ended 3-3

A soft spot for Milan

Carles Puyol told the Barça website that he has admired Milan since he was a boy: “It was a team that won everything. They were coached by Sacchi and had players like Maldini, Baresi and Costacurta”.

You have to go right back to September 2000 to find a match between FC Barcelona and AC Milan without Carles Puyol. Since then, the two sides have met nine times and in each of those matches there’s been one common factor – the presence of Carles Puyol.

The Barça captain has never hidden his admiration for the Italian giants and has even called them his ‘second’ team. He made his first appearance in a duel between the two sides on 18th October 2000 in the San Siro in a match that featured a Rivaldo ‘hat-trick’ and finished 3-3.

From Shevchenko to Giuly

Over the years, Puyol has done battle with many great forwards wearing the colours of AC Milan but, speaking in an interview with www.fcbarcelona.cat he did not hesitate to single out Andriy Shevchenko as the player who created the greatest headaches. In fact, the only defeat Puyol has suffered against Milan in all this time was thanks to a goal by the Ukrainian international in the 2004/05 season.

On the plus side, he’s been able to celebrate four victories, including a memorable Champion league semi-final win in the 2005/06 season. A goal from the French international Giuly gave Barça a slight advantage which they then cemented with a goalless draw in the Camp Nou to go through to the final in Paris.

Eight starts in nine matches

As well as appearing in all nine matches played against Milan in the last decade or so, Puyol has featured in the starting line-up in eight of them. The only exception was last year’s group stage match in the Camp Nou in which he came on as a substitute in the 67th minute. It was a special moment for the Catalan defender in that it meant his comeback after a three-month absence due to a knee injury.

PUYOL’s MATCHES AGAINST AC MILAN

– FCB v Milan (3-1). Return leg quarterfinal Champions League 2011/12
– Milan v FCB (0-0). First leg quarterfinal Champions League 2011/12
– Milan v FCB (2-3). Champions League group stage 2011/12
– FCB v Milan (2-2). Champions League group stage 2011/12
– FCB v Milan (0-0). Return leg semi-final Champions League 2005/06
– Milan v FCB (0-1). First leg semi-final Champions League 2005/06
– FCB v Milan (2-1). Champions League group stage 2004/05
– Milan v FCB (1-0). Champions League group stage 2004/05
– Milan v FCB (3-3). Champions League first group stage 2000/01