Dani Alves still in shock at suprise Barcelona return
The Brazilian spoke to Barça's media department after passing a medical. He will begin training under Xavi's orders this afternoon and be presented on Wednesday.
Dani Alves is a step closer to beginning his second stint at FC Barcelona. The 38-year-old passed a medical revision at Barcelona's general hospital on Monday which effectively means that he will be able to train with the first team squad. He will be taken through his first training session at 18:00 hours this evening, five and a half years after he left the club.
Alves will be officially presented on Wednesday. He will be unveiled at Camp Nou at 14:00 hours. the club will open the doors of their stadium to the general public who will be free to attend the event. An hour later, at 15:00 hours, the player will hold a press conference.
With his own typical brand of humour, the defender sent a message to the journalists who were waiting for him to emerge at the hospital entrance: "You've missed me, eh!" He has been missed, and not just by the press - his extrovert character and happy outlook will surely rub off on his new team mates in the blaugrana dressing room.
Alves "in shock" at Barcelona transfer
After passing his medical, Dani had a few words for the club's media department. "I'm still in shock. I have spent a long time trying to come back and to be able to work alongside people who know about my history is a privilege. I'm going to try to recover the Barça we all know and love. We are in the process of doing so, but we have to speed things up. This team has no margin for error. Now it's a great opportunity to do it," he said.
"Dreams do come true but it's something which you need work hard at. I have been doing that to realize my dreams. I want to help Barça to grow. This is an incredible challenge, onw which really appeals to me. It's about fighting and defending the club. Whenever I pull on a Barcelona shirt I feel like a super hero. I hope that will rub off on my team mates - what it means to represent Barcelona. I'd also like to tell Barça fans that we are al in this together. They shouldn't stop supporting the team because it is in these moments when we see their devotion to the club. We need to pull all of our strengths together and show what we have inside us," he continued.
Alves made his own feelings for the club clear, adding, "Over 50% of my winning mentality was generated for the time I spent at Barcelona. My house is here and my family live here. It was inevitable that one day I would come back to Barcelona. The nice surprise was to come back as a player. I had planned to return after retiring. You have to dream and try to make those dreams happen. I want to keep winning and if I can do that at Barça, then even better. But we all have to believe where we are - Barça, the best club in the world, and what we can achieve. I know what I am talking about. There is no club like Barça," he explained.
Alves must wait until January before he can make his debut for Barcelona
But Alves will not be able to make his second debut for the blaugranas immediately. He won't be eligible to play until January, even though he joins as a free agent. The reason being is that he played for São Paulo in September which means he cannot be registered with LaLiga until the winter transfer window opens.
However, Xavi wants Alves to be fully involved with the squad as from this week. Hi leadership qualities and positive outlook are needed more than ever - especially after such a disruptive start to the season. The right-back has hopes of being with Brazil at next year's World Cup finals in Qatar which means that he will need to keep himself in shape and remain competitive to boost his chances of Tite calling him up.
Alves' arrival also increases competition in the right-back position which has been one of the team's weak spots. Sergiño Dest has been inconsistent and neither Óscar Mingueza nor Sergi Roberto have looked convinced when playing in the role.
With a new right-back on the books, the next step is to find a reliable winger who can strengthen one of the two flanks. While Barcelona have Ansu Fati and Dembélé for those roles, both have been injury-prone which suggests the club will need to find a solution in the medium to long term.