The fact that he is a genuinely indispensable cog in Barcelona’s star-studded machine has, over time, also helped Daniel Alves become Brazil’s undisputed No1 right-back, a status he only cemented after the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The native of Juazeiro in Bahia state first burst onto the global scene at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2003, where he played a vital part in A Seleção’s title triumph and was selected as the tournament’s third-best player.
Having started out at Bahia, it was after he moved to La Liga outfit Sevilla – for whom he made his debut in 2003 – that his career really took off. Indeed, by the time he had turned 22 in 2005 he was already considered one of the world’s finest attacking right-backs, with his endless bursts down the flank a key feature of the Sevilla side that over the course of 2006 and 2007 won a Copa del Rey, a Spanish Supercup, two UEFA Cups and a UEFA Supercup.
Coveted by Europe’s very biggest clubs, Barcelona won the race for his signature in July 2008, when Alves bade farewell to Sevilla and their fans in a tearful press conference. The Baiano did not take long to establish himself at Camp Nou, going on to become an increasingly influential member of a squad that has been vastly successful in recent years.
Alves’ debut with the senior Seleção came back in 2006, though the player had the ill fortune to be in direct competition with Maicon, a near-automatic starter in the right back position throughout Dunga’s reign as coach. Alves’ first major highlight with the full Verde e Amarelo came in the final of the Copa America 2007 when, after replacing Elano at the interval, he created Brazil’s second and scored their third in a 3-0 victory over Argentina.
Once Mano Menezes took over from Dunga following South Africa 2010, the Barcelona star’s drive, energy and effectiveness going forward secured his position as a first-choice with A Canarinho – a situation expected to continue under Luiz Felipe Scolari.