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Liga MX

Liga MX: Will Dani Alves continue with Pumas in 2023?

It’s been a hugely disappointing Apertura 2022 for Pumas and Dani Alves, with the ‘Universitarios’ missing out on a post-season place.

Dani Alves of Pumas

Former Barcelona star Alves signed for Pumas on an initial 12-month contract in July, but things haven’t gone to plan for the Brazil international.

The 39-year-old still holds hope of getting a call up from Brazil manager Tite for the 2022 World Cup, but the defender was not included in the Seleção squad for the latest (and last) window before the tournament in Qatar gets underway in mid-November - and is playing in a position in which Casemiro, Fabinho, Fred and Bruno Guimarães are also among the South American nation’s options.

With Pumas failing to advance to the Apertura postseason, the club’s board will be forced to take action, with the seven-time Mexican champions expected to conduct an evaluation of Andrés Lillini’s project and look for ways to turn the team’s fortunes around after the World Cup.

The Auriazules complete their regular-season campaign against Juárez this weekend and will be without the Brazilian, with many fans fearing that he may have pulled on the famous shirt for the last time.

Injury mystery

Dani Alves played down an injury that Pumas officially reported on social media on Thursday and later removed, ahead of the weekend match against Juárez.

In a brief statement posted on the social network Twitter, Pumas announced that Dani Alves has a “right knee medial collateral ligament injury”.

Pumas added that the situation of Dani Alves is “being evaluated”, but without specifying the recovery time of the Brazilian player, who did not travel with the team for Friday’s match against the ‘Bravos’ on the last matchday of the regular phase of the tournament.

Later, via social networks, Alves reported that “my friend Diogo [Pumas’ Brazilian striker] hit me in training and as a precaution I did not travel”. Moments later, the tweet of Dani Alves’ medical report disappeared from Pumas’ official account.

In his first tournament with Pumas, Dani Alves has played 12 full games in the Mexican top flight and accumulated 1,080 minutes.

In the evening, Pumas released a statement “to clarify the misunderstanding” and explained that at the end of Thursday’s training session Dani Alves “received a blow to his knee”.

Dani Alves
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Dani Alves Francisco GuascoEFE

Because of this blow, the Brazilian player did not travel to Ciudad Juárez (northern Mexico), the Pumas said, explaining that “the injury requires basic treatment and rest”.

Regarding the initial publication that was removed from Twitter, Pumas admitted that it was “erroneous information” due to “a miscommunication” at the club and “for this mistake we offer an apology to Dani Alves”.

A future at Pumas for Alves?

At this stage of the season it’s impossible to say if Alves will play for the Liga MX side in the 2023 Clausura. He penned a one-year deal with the option of a further season, but given his underwhelming displays for the side, their failure to make the postseason stage and his substantial salary (rumoured to be in excess of $3 million), major question marks surround the possibility of the Brazilian veteran donning the blue and gold shirt next season.