Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez has revealed Dani Alves has decided to leave the club as he closes in on a move to Juventus.
The 33-year-old has been at Camp Nou since 2008 and won six La Liga titles, four Copa del Rey crowns and three Champions Leagues as part of an astonishing 23 winners’ medals.
Juve director Giuseppe Marotta was “very optimistic” on the club’s pursuit of Alves this week and the Brazil international – who is currently preparing for the Copa America in the United States – will now leave Barca.
“Dani Alves has decided to leave – he has informed us of his intention and it is a personal decision that we respect,” Robert said at a press conference.
“I don’t like that Alves is leaving – he is an extraordinary player and he is very loved. He had a great season and has always done really well here, but now he has decided to go.
“We are not a club that signs a player for two and three seasons and then sell them on, but Alves had reached the end of his contract last season. The club was in a complicated situation because we couldn’t sign players – we could buy but they couldn’t play until January.
“The club decided to renew his contract. At the time the renewal was logical, but it is not just the club that decides these things, there’s also a player and his agent. They seek favourable situations – that was for him to renew for another season and leave as a free agent.
“That’s the reality and the club doesn’t always come out winning in these situations.”
Alves played in 48 matches last season as Barca won a double of La Liga and the Copa del Rey, but Robert backed Aleix Vidal and Sergi Roberto to step up and replace him.
He continued: “That’s why we signed Aleix Vidal, so of course we have trust in him. When we decided to sign him he’s a player playing for Spain who just had a great season for Sevilla, and since then Sergio Roberto has burst onto the scene.
“Aleix Vidal signed as cover for this situation and Sergi Roberto is a very versatile player, so it’s not something we need to assess at the moment.”
Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin started his career as a youth player at Barcelona, but Robert insisted there were no plans to make a move in the transfer market.
He said: “It’s not something I am proposing at the moment. He’s a magnificent player, we knew him very well here. He was born as a footballer at La Masia, but at the moment I’m not planning to bring him back.”