Dani Alves to leave FC Barcelona this summer

Dani Alves speaks to the Camp Nou crowd at the end of the season / VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB
First team technical secretary Robert Fernández announces the player’s ‘personal decision’ at a press conference on Thursday

Another top season

Before analysing the transfer market, Robert Fernández also assessed the way the season has gone for the football team. “I’m very happy with what they have achieved and with the way they did it” he said. “There is a wonderful team spirit here and we can only feel proud of what these players have done”.

Dani Alves is leaving FC Barcelona this summer. The announcement was made on Thursday by Robert Fernández at his end-of-season conference at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.

“This is personal decision that the club has to accept” said the FCB technical secretary, explaining that the Brazilian extended his contract for one season at the end of last season, thus ensuring cover while the club was unable to bring in new players due to the FIFA suspension, but that the possibility of his departure had already been discussed during those negotiations.

Alves is leaving after eight seasons at FC Barcelona, playing 391 matches, the second highest number for any foreigners, a tally topped only by Leo Messi. With 23 titles at Barça, plus a further five with previous club Sevilla and three with Brazil, he is one of the most successful players in the history of the game.

Fernández admitted that he was sorry to see the player leave, and did not hold back in his praise for the full-back, but insisted that ultimately “all we can do is respect his decision.” The player is leaving as a free agent, a situation that the technical secretary explained by saying “for players that come here, this is their goal. We are not a club that buys players and sells them on, we are a destination.”

Ins and outs

Discussing how Alves’ decision relates to the rest of the squad, Fernández wished to make it clear that “negotiations are not decided by one party alone … You also have to factor in the interests of the player and his agent.” He also observed that there is fierce competition in the football market right now, and the financial clout of the English Premier League certainly makes operations more difficult.

Robert Fernández discussed a number of other matters at his press conference, including Aleix Vidal, who he admits “was signed with the possibility of Alves leaving in mind.” As for players that the club is targeting for next season, he was naturally reluctant to mention names and things obviously depend a lot on whether players leave the club, but he did reveal that FC Barcelona will be exercising its option to recover Denis Suárez from Villarreal on July 1.

He was also asked to comment on the possibility of promoting players from the reserves, replying that although this is always an option, the fact that the team is now playing in the third tier (Division 2B) makes it a lot harder to move players to the highest level. The priority for the coming season is to get Barça B into the playoffs and hopefully get them playing second division football again the year after.

Barça technical secretary Robert Fernández… by fcbarcelona