If anyone thought that signing Dani Alves was a thoughtless act, a publicity stunt or a move to boost Barcelona’s morale, they were wrong. As the weeks go by, it is becoming increasingly clear that the inclusion of the Brazilian full-back comes to cover a severe shortage in Barcelona’s current squad.
The truth is that since Alves left Barcelona in 2016, the Catalan side has not been able to fill his vacant place. Many players have passed this position, but none of them managed to become the master of the right side of the Barcelona defense.
At the age of 38, the former Seville full-back returned to Barcelona with the goal of reclaiming the ownership he should never have lost. “I was never born to be second, always be first,” Danny said in his presentation. I came to guerrilla warfare, I didn’t come to spend time or live in Barcelona. I came to play and fight for my position.”
If there is one thing that shows Barcelona are waiting for Alves – he won’t be able to start competing until January – it is the way Xavi Hernandez manages the right-back position in his first games at the helm.
He has three matches as captain of the Blaugrana, but there was no clear bet on one player to occupy this position primarily. In fact, he modified the plan, going 3-4-3. He preferred to align three centre-backs in the absence of a full-back.
In the first match, against Espanyol, Mingueza played the role of right-back, but Raul de Tomas proved unqualified to occupy this position. The bet did not work.
In the absence of Dani Alves, the two natural options for the position are Serginio Dest and Sergi Roberto. At the moment, neither of them have earned Xavi’s trust.
In the case of Sergi Roberto, his frequent injuries are weighing on him. It’s clearly completely unavailable, which prevents Xavi from picking it up.
For Dest, the American has been searching for his place all season. With Koeman he was involved a lot as a winger, but that was clearly not a thing. A team like Barcelona, who needs efficiency more than ever, cannot afford to have a player in the last meters with so many problems.
With this panorama, it seems clear that in Barcelona’s technical area, they are counting the days until Dani Alves can make his official debut in the Pograna shirt. If all goes according to plan, it will be on January 2, which is the date when the first league match is scheduled for 2022, against Mallorca in Palma.
However, Alves is expected to play his first match earlier, in just a couple of weeks. The friendly match that Barcelona will play in Saudi Arabia will be against Boca Juniors. This match, in honor of Diego Armando Maradona, will be held on December 14 in Riyadh. It is there that Dani Alves is expected to wear the number ‘8’ shirt for Barcelona for the first time. Until then, Xavi will continue to test at right-back.