BARCELONA | ALVES

Dani Alves: “I want Atlético to win the Champions League”

Barcelona star Dani Alves hopes Atlético Madrid can beat rivals Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League in Milan this Saturday.

Dani Alves: “I want Atlético to win the Champions League”

Dani Alves, Barcelona's flamboyant right back, spoke today after making a donation towards 1,000 hepatitis C treatments (500 in Brazil, 250 in Spain and 250 in Bolivia). Although many would find it difficult to talk about football straight after explaining how they were about to save a multitude of lives, Alves had no bother changing the chip, and the ever outspoken Brazilian defender came out with some interesting comments...

Is Barca’s success this season determined by whether Real Madrid win the Champions league or not?

I think for the fans, probably yes, but for us no. The Champions League that Madrid and Atlético are fighting for still belongs to us. Until the final whistle we can still tease them with that if we like. We are the defending champions. It seems sometimes that Real have already won it, but their rival deserves respect. I expect to see a great game, but it doesn’t change the fact that Barcelona are the best team in the world. We’ve achieved what no one else has achieved.

Barça celebrate

You received excessive criticism over your recent wig video, do you regret it?

I was thinking about doing another one yesterday, but I didn’t have time (he smiles). I’m not focused on that now, it doesn’t change anything. You can’t face life with the seriousness that sometimes faces us in our profession. I think everyone is happy with the dedication and work I put in. My life is a sea of happiness and this is what surprises people who are used to bitterness. I have a different philosophy – the difference being that I respect people for who they are.

Alves in his wig.

Are you staying on at Barca?

The truth is that in life the only thing I believe in is possibilities. I can’t guarantee that I’ll stay at Barca as I’ve spent my whole career fighting to stay on. I live day to day, and for me, tomorrow doesn’t really exist. I’m not worried about it. I’m not perfect, but I try to work hard and believe that things are achieved through dedication. It’s strange, but I always seem to come out winning.

You’ve got a contract, why can’t you guarantee you’ll continue?

I’ve already said. I’ll always be happy here because Barcelona is where I belong – I’ve given my heart to the club. Last year it seemed I might leave, but no, it’s been another successful campaign. There’s nothing more to it. Now I’m on holidays and it’s a moment I’m going to enjoy.

Would you swap the Champions League for the domestic double?

I can’t change something that’s not available to me and a Champions League isn’t possible this year. But I wouldn’t swap it no, I’d add to it. To change one thing for the other would underestimate the value of the trophies that we’ve work so hard to win. For us perhaps it sometimes seems easy, but it takes an awful lot to win trophies. If that wasn’t the case more teams would have more titles to their name. I’ve been here for eight years now and I’ve never lost the desire to compete.

Do you think Neymar will go to Real Madrid?

You have to take his words into account – he’s very happy here, with the club and his teammates. Hopefully the club takes care of him and he decides to stay.

On selection for Brazil at the Copa America this summer…

It’s a massive honour to serve my county. There’s never any hesitation when they call me up. I would love to be there. We’ve decided that I should do two days of treatment here to sort out some discomfort I had six months ago and reach an optimum level of fitness. If I’m not 100 per cent, I won’t go.

Who do you want to win the Champions League?

I want Atleti to win – but not just because I want Real to lose. I like it when Madrid lose, that’s obvious, but I want Atlético to win because they work hard, and they deserve a trophy of such stature. Madrid already have a good few. Winning the Champions League would be reward for all the graft they’ve put in over the past few years.

Does the Barca team need some fresh faces?

I’ve never felt that I’m a certain starter but I’ve always tried to be the best player in my position as it pisses me off that someone may get the nod in front of me. There were some doubts about me this season but I’ve always responded. It’s seems they love me too much! But no, I’ve always put the hard work in and I’ve always ended up playing. In team sports, you have to give your best when it’s your turn to play, and when it’s not, you respect your teammate. I’m happy with the team we have right now.

Did you think you had won La Liga a little bit too early?

No, but the points advantage we had was enormous. Our guard was down and we didn’t expect to take so many blows all at once. In the end we got what we deserved because we were the best team over the season, and now the title is ours again. We’ve sent a clear message out – we’ve been winning for years and we want to continue to do so.