Brazil has been manufacturing the world’s greatest footballers since the dawn of civilization, like it has a factory. It really is no surprise that the nation clad in yellow has lifted the World Cup 5 times. Even right now, players like Neymar and Alisson are at the top of the football world with surely more to come. But even among the elites of the nation’s players, Dani Alves stands out and it’s not because of any off-pitch antics. When you talk about the best full-backs of the past few decades, there are some shoo-ins and some arguable players; after all, the words ‘best’ should not be given out to any player easily. Dani Alves, however, is a shoo-in. The Brazilian’s football journey has been littered with nothing but championships and he has deserved every single piece of silverware. While it seems to be rather excessive to claim superlatives, the Brazilian right-back is certainly well within contention for the high praise.
Skills and Versatility:
Alves is one of the best offensive fullbacks. Whether it’s passing or dribbling or especially crossing, for Dani Alves, at times it seems as easy as typing in a cheat code. He knows when to be aggressive in attack and when to hold back. Darting runs and cheeky passes are well within his forte’ and he’s not afraid to execute. His reserves of stamina have helped him cover a lot of ground and help out with both offense and defense as much as possible. It seems he is always in the position where you most need him, especially in attack. His attack-intensive tendencies also help him the versatility department which as we all know is a great plus to have. He could play winger and in the central midfield taking advantage of his crossing and vision to maximize the damage.
Dani Alves has played for multiple clubs and has had some terrific coordination and has helped elevate good players to great ones. In Barcelona, he played with Messi and Jordi Alba in the opposite end and as a result, Barcelona acquired an excessive amount of trophies. He did the same thing at Juventus and played alongside Mandzukic and Higuain laying in some of those crucial assists. Even at Sevilla he was fantastic and won the UEFA Cup twice. He went on two PSG and wreaked havoc with fellow Brazilian Neymar in the front lines. On the International scene, he was just as potent both in the way he played himself and how he helped the team. He played with greats like Maicon and Ronaldinho. More recently he played with Marcelo on the Left Back position, another player who is contention for this particular title and Neymar as mentioned earlier and played some fantastic games, utilizing those passing and crossing abilities to the maximum, especially with Marcelo on the opposite end.
Of course, you can’t simply gloss over the Trophies Dani Alves has won. Most recently he became the first player to win 40 trophies after claiming the Copa America. He was also named MVP of the tournament. Alves has won 3 Champions League titles with Barcelona as well as 6 La Liga Titles with the Spanish side. He won the Serie A with Juventus and the Ligue 1 twice with PSG over in France. None of those awards were from the stands. He didn’t luck out by not playing matches and just being amongst the reserves. On the international scene, he won the Copa America twice making the World Cup the only trophy under the Sun, he hasn’t won.
Naturally, when you say something like best, there’s bound to be some opposing arguments in defence of other players. It may not be something unanimous but you’d be hard-pressed to argue against Dani Alves being a nominee for being the Best Full Back of his generation. He did play with a lot of great players, a lot of which are certainly close being called the best. The one that immediately comes to mind is his fellow Brazilian Fullback (LB), Marcelo, with his incredible speed and dribbling and general attacking prowess. Marcelo is also one of the few players to have won the UCL 3 times in a row; even Alves doesn’t have that sort of record under his belt. You have Jordi Alba, his fellow Fullback at Barcelona to talk about as well, who has been strong on both defense and offense. The same could be said for Dani Carvajal over at RMA. Sergio Ramos could be brought into the conversation, who has often played fullback won the World Cup playing in that position. Ashley Cole from Chelsea could certainly be considered as well as Javier Zanetti who won the European treble and played over 1000 matches.
In the end, Dani Alves is simply one of the best. There’s no iron-clad counter-argument against him being the best Fullback of his generation, at least beyond complete doubt. It’s simply because he has been excellent throughout his legendary career. Dani Alves is definitely one of those players you see once in a blue moon and we, as football fans are lucky to witness a master at work.