Friday, January 21, 2022

Dani Alves revels in second Barcelona debut: ´A special day to wear the shirt again´

SoccerNews in La Liga 5 Jan 2022

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Dani Alves described playing for Barcelona again as “too special a gift” after making his second debut in the Copa del Rey win over Linares Deportivo.

The veteran defender played the full 90 minutes as Xavi’s side came from behind at Linarejos, with goals from Ousmane Dembele and Ferran Jutgla sealing a 2-1 win over the third-tier club.

The 38-year-old was officially registered on Monday after re-joining the club on a free transfer in November following his departure from Sao Paulo.

Alves was making his 248th appearance – and first since May 2016 – for the Blaugrana, with whom he won 23 trophies during his first spell.

And he praised the mental strength of his team-mates to recover after Hugo Diaz’s header put them on the back foot.

In quotes reported by AS, Alves said: “For me, it is a special day to wear the Barca shirt again.

“To play again in official competition with Barca is too special a gift. 

“I just want to play with my team-mates, help them, and improve them. 

“It is a competition with many surprises. We knew it was difficult, but we were mentally strong.

“You have to learn to compete and fight to the end. Only those who know how to suffer, raise trophies. Today, we have succeeded.”

Meanwhile, head coach Xavi was pleased with the response of his players after half-time but acknowledged that they can perform a lot better.

“It was a matter of faith. It was a matter of calm and breathing and choosing the last pass,” he said. “The triumph has been important. 

“We had a hard time understanding the superiority and the last pass. We were better in the second half because they were more tired. 

“There are phases in which we have played well, but it was logical.”

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