Thursday, June 22, 2017

I´m sure Barcelona miss me – Dani Alves looks forward to Champions League reunion

SoccerNews in La Liga 10 Apr 2017

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Juventus right-back Dani Alves believes he is missed by Barcelona ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg between the sides in Turin.

Alves brought his eight-year spell at Camp Nou to an end by signing a two-year contract with Juventus in June 2016 and he will face his old team for the first time in the Champions League last eight.

The 33-year-old accepted it will feel odd to go up against his old club in a battle between the current champions of Serie A and LaLiga.

“It’s strange! I’m sure they miss me,” Alves joked in an interview with the FIFA website. 

“I think they appreciated me as a professional, a football player, and as someone who was good to have around the place, who made every game unique, with a new dance or new music or whatever. 

“I brought a bit of joy to the dressing room. I’ve spoken to them and they’ve told me that that’s what they miss about me the most: how happy I am and the way I am. They say I’m unique.”

Juve have not conceded a goal for 351 minutes in the Champions League and Alves highlighted the defensive quality of Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci as key to their chances against Barcelona.

“They’re legends of the game,” the Brazilian added. “They’re excellent defenders, which is what you’d expect, because the Italian league is very demanding in that respect.

“Even when you’re playing in a more advanced position like mine, you have to work hard, be very competitive and defend well. That’s the step I’ve had to take in the few months that I’ve spent at my new club. 

“I think I’ve taken on all the new ideas pretty quickly. I see myself as an intelligent person and I’ve kept my skill levels up while developing my game. If you want to improve, you have to maintain existing skills and learn new ones.”

Since swapping Barcelona for Serie A, Alves has noticed a number of differences between the two countries – particularly a more serious approach to football in Italy.

“That’s one of the challenges I’ve had to face,” Alves said. “I need to feel joy in my life. I need some atmosphere.

“I’m a big believer in energy and I feel that what you do on the pitch reflects who you are off it. That’s one problem I’ve had. In Italy, team-mates can be a bit serious and not very expressive.

“I’m the complete opposite. I’m happy, fun to be around, and I like to get an atmosphere going. But like I said, it’s a challenge and I think I have a lot to offer Juve. I hope they get used to me, but if they don’t, I’ll just try to fit in.

“I played for the same team and with the same team-mates for many years. It’s weird, but that’s football. I’m a very restless person and new experiences excite me more than anything else. And that’s what I’m having right now with Juve.”

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