Brazil fans: "Dani Alves attending the World Cup is an unfair joke"
The controversy surrounding Dani Alves broke out immediately after coach Tite named this veteran defender at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro on November 7.
Aside from the age aspect, Alves has not featured in a match in almost two months, since the game UNAM Pumas lost to Puebla FC 1-2 on September 23. He even missed the UNAM Pumas' last Mexican League match, which they lost 1-3 to FC Juarez on October 1 due to injury. Since then, the 39-year-old defender has been training and recovering from injury with Barcelona's B squad in order to be ready for the 2022 World Cup.
Alves is now playing for UNAM Pumas in Mexico.
"Someone has to explain. How did a player playing in Mexico get on the Brazil squad for the 2022 World Cup? Alves had a chance to attend the World Cup, but he helped us nothing. Even when Alves was at his peak, Brazil could not win the championship," the Mediotiempo site quoted a Brazilian fan as commenting.
"Brazil has good players in the top clubs in the world, and they want to tell me that Alves is the best choice. This must be a joke," another commented. "A player who has been on vacation for many years, only eating tacos in Mexico recently, but will be able to attend the World Cup," one fan sarcastically.
Some opinions consider the decision to call Alves to the 2022 World Cup as an "insult" to other Brazilian right-backs who have trained and played hard in the past months to hope for a spot in Brazilian team.
During the press conference announcing the 2022 World Cup squad on November 7, Tite explained his decision to summon Alves: " I apply the same standards to Alves as I do to all other players. He possesses great ability in both technical and tactical aspects to become a ball-developing player. Alves no longer has a 60- or 70-meter sprint, but he still has many other qualities, mentally and physically."
Coach Tite still highly appreciates Alves' abilities.
In a survey by Brazil's largest newspaper O'Globo, 88% of people disapproved of Alves' participation in the 2022 World Cup. However, Tite insists that he is not interested in the waves of criticism. "I respect other opinions, but I'm not here to convince everyone," emphasized the 61-year-old coach. "I'm here to dedicate myself to 220 million Brazilians."
According to Brazilian team doctor Fabio Mahseredjian, the team's coaching staff closely monitors Alves' injury situation. With the data provided by the Barca medical team, Mahseredjian believes the 39-year-old defender will be in the best shape before the 2022 World Cup.
Contributing to the list of 26 players travelling to Qatar, Alves became the oldest Brazilian player to attend the World Cup, breaking the record set by a former Brazilian player, Djalma Santos when he attended the 1966 World Cup at the age of 37. Djalma Santos is regarded as one of the greatest right-backs of all time, having participated in four World Cups with Brazil, winning the competition in 1958 and 1962.
With the upcoming World Cup, Alves will get a chance to play at the World Cup for the third time, after the 2010 and 2014 World Cup finals. He missed the tournament four years ago in Russia because of a cruciate ligament injury. Alves currently has eight goals in 124 appearances for Brazil. "Today is the day of victory, and I am very happy. I am very proud to be called up to the Brazil national team. Four years ago, I was seriously injured. The tears of sadness that day turned into joy today," Alves said in a video on Instagram when he heard coach Tite mention his name for the 2022 World Cup.
Alves was in Brazil squad to compete in the 2014 World Cup at home.
Alves returns to Barca in the second half of the 2021-2022 season. Under the direction of his former teammate Xavi, the Brazilian defender made 16 appearances, scoring one goal and providing three assists. Not being renewed by Barca in the summer of 2022, he joined UNAM Pumas on a contract until the summer of 2023. He had four assists in 12 games for the Mexican club last season.
Alves is currently the most successful player in history with 47 trophies at all levels, including three at Bahia, five at Sevilla, 26 at Barca, two at Juventus, six at PSG, and one at Sao Paulo. At the international level, he and the Brazilian team won two Confederation Cups and two Copa Americas. In addition, Alves also won the gold medal in men’s football with the Brazilian Olympic team in the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.