Even those most fervent believers in the value of Dani Alves might have been surprised two years ago upon finding out that the veteran, now aged 39, would be called up for the Qatar World Cup.
Alves has been jumping from team to team over the last months, moving from Sao Paulo to Barcelona and then to Pumas in Mexico, often with long periods of inactivity. He signed for Barcelona in November of last year despite not being able to play until January, and after the end of Pumas’ season had been training with Barcelona Atletic for several weeks.
Some in Brazil have questioned his inclusion in Tite’s squad. Alves has a crucial role to play in his team though, as per Sport. According to the Catalan daily, Alves is there to improve the spirit, competitiveness and exercise as a leader off the pitch for Brazil – which is not a surprise. More specifically, Alves has been entrusted with keeping Neymar Junior in check.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward arrived late to the Brazil camp with teammate Marquinhos after the pair changed their flight, although no explanation was given as to why, meaning they also missed the first training session.
Alves has been a close ally and mentor of Neymar, helping him first at Barcelona and then at PSG, where Neymar requested his signing. The 39-year-old has also been charged by Tite with maintaining Neymar’s focus on the football.
While this sounds like a bizarre use of a squad spot, so much of Brazil’s hopes rest on Neymar that it might pay dividends. If Brazil get the best out of Neymar, they have one of the few players that can be unstoppable on his day.
Source by Football Espana