Dani Alves on Barcelona, growing up in Brazil and the Champions League final
I started with a secret.
In fact, you may learn some secrets in this story, because I feel that I have been misunderstood by many people.
But let\'s start with the first one.
Three months ago, Barcelona came back against Paris. -
In the Champions League, I watched every moment from the couch.
You may see in the paper that I hope my old club will lose.
But when my brother Neymar kicked that beautiful free kick?
I jumped up from the sofa and screamed at the TV.
\"When Sergi Roberto did a miracle in 95 minutes?
Like other Barcelona fans in the world, I\'m going crazy.
Because the fact is that Barcelona is still in my blood.
Did the board not respect me until I left the club last summer? Absolutely.
That\'s how I feel, you can never tell me anything different.
But you can\'t play for the club for eight years, you can\'t achieve what we do, and you can\'t always put the club in your heart.
Managers, players and board members come and go.
But Barcelona will never leave.
Before I went to Juventus, I made a final commitment to the board in Barcelona.
You will miss me, I said.
\"That\'s not what I meant as a player.
Barcelona have a lot of incredible players.
I mean, they will miss my spirit.
They will miss my care for the dressing room.
Every time I put on my shirt they miss the blood I spilled.
It was a very strange feeling when I played Barcelona in the next round.
Especially in the second leg of Camp Nou, I felt like I was home again.
Before the start of the game, I went to the bench in Barcelona and said hello to my old friend, who said, \"Dani, come and sit with us!
We kept your seat!
\"I shook hands with the referee with my back.
Suddenly I heard a whistle.
I turned around and the referee had already started the game.
I run back to the field and I can hear my old coach Louis Enrique laughing at his ass.
But that game was not a joke, especially for me.
People saw me and said, \"Dani is always joking.
He always smiles.
He\'s not serious.
\"Look, I\'ll tell you another secret.
Before I play the best forward in the world.
Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar
I study their strengths and weaknesses like an obsession, and then I plan on how to attack them.
My goal is to show the world that Dani Alves is on the same level.
Maybe they will dribble me once or twice. Sure, okay.
But I will attack them, too.
I don\'t want to be seen.
I want the stage.
Even at the age of 34, after 34 trophies, I still feel like I have to prove this every time.
But it goes deeper than that.
I have the same routine before every game.
Five minutes before I stood in the mirror, I blocked everything.
Then I started playing a movie in my head.
This is the film of my life. . .
The first scene, I\'m 10 years old.
I slept on a cement bed at my little home in Juazeiro, Brazil.
The mattress on the bed is as thick as your little finger.
There was a smell of wet soil in the house, and it was still dark outside.
At 5 in the morning, the sun hasn\'t risen yet, but I have to go to our farm to help my father before going to school.
My brother and I walked into the field where our father had already worked.
He has a big, heavy jar on his back and he is spraying fruits and plants with chemicals to kill bacteria.
We may be too young to deal with toxins, but we helped him.
This is the way we live.
I have been competing with my brother for hours to see who is the hardest worker.
Because our father decided to get the right to our only bike for the people who helped him the most.
If I don\'t win the bike, I have to walk 20 kilometers from the farm to my school.
The road back from school is even worse because the ball game near US will start without me.
So I ran 20 kilometers and ran all the way to the court.
But what if I win the bike?
So I can get the girls.
I can pick up one of them on the way and send them to school.
20 kilometers, I am that person.
So I work hard.
When I went to school I looked at my father and there was a big tank on his back.
He had a whole day in front of him on the court and in the evening he had a small bar and he ran to make extra money.
He was a great footballer when he was young, but he had no money to go to a bigger city so he could be seen by scouts.
He wanted to make sure I had the chance even if it killed him.
It\'s Sunday. we are watching the black football match. and-white TV.
The antenna is wrapped around steel wool so that we can receive signals from cities far away.
It was the best day of the week for us.
There is a lot of joy in our family.
Now my father drove me into town in his old car so I could try it in front of the Scouts.
The car is a block car with only two gears.
Slow and slow
I can smell smoke.
My father is a liar.
I\'m a liar too.
Now that I\'m 13 years old, I\'m at a college of young footballers in a bigger town away from my family.
A small dormitory was packed with 100 children.
Kind of like a prison.
The day before I left home, my father went into town and bought me a new football kit.
He doubled my wardrobe because I had only one gear at first.
After the first day of training, I hung the new kit to dry.
It was gone the next morning.
Someone stole it.
When I realized it was no longer a farm.
This is the real world. the reason why they call it the real world is because the s ** here is real.
I went back to my room and I was hungry.
We trained all day and there was not enough food in the camp.
Someone stole my clothes.
I miss my family and I\'m definitely not the best player here.
Of 100, I may be 51 years old.
So I gave myself a promise.
I told myself, \"you won\'t go back to the farm unless you make your father proud.
You may be 51 years old.
But you will be number 1 or number 2 when driving.
You will be a killer.
You don\'t go home anyway. \".
Now that I\'m 18 years old, it\'s one of the only lies I \'ve ever told in football.
I played for Bahia in the Brazilian league and a big scout came over and said to me, \"Sevilla is interested in signing you.
\"I said,\" Sevilla! Amazing.
The scout said, \"Do you know where it is ? \"
\"I said,\" Of course I know where Sevilla is. Sev-iiiillaaaaa. I love it.
\"But I don\'t know where Sevilla is.
As far as I know, it may be on the moon.
But the way he says the name sounds important, so I lied.
A few days later, I began to inquire about Sevilla\'s match against Barcelona and Real Madrid.
In Portuguese, we have an expression of this moment.
I said to myself, \"Agora.
\"Like, bang. Now. Let\'s go.
Now I\'m in Seville and I\'m malnourished and the coaches and other players are looking at me like I have to play for the youth team.
I\'m in the toughest six months of my life.
I can\'t speak this language.
The manager is not playing me. this is the first time I really think about going home.
But for some reason, I thought of the new kit my father bought me when I was 13.
The stolen one.
I remembered him. he had tanks tied to his back and chemicals sprayed.
I decided to stay and learn the language and try to make some friends so that at least I can come back to Brazil to share with new experience.
At the beginning of the season, the manager told everyone, \"in Sevilla, our defense will not cross the middle line. Never.
\"I played a few games, played football and looked at the line.
Looking at it is like a dog who is afraid of crossing a fence that can\'t be seen in the yard.
Then, a game, I let go for some reason.
I want to be myself.
I say, \"Agora. I\'m gone.
Attack, attack, attack.
Then the manager said, \"OK, Dani. New plan.
You attack in Seville.
\"In just a few short seasons, we have raised the Uefa Cup from the relegation club to two.
My phone rang. It\'s my agent.
\"Dani, Barcelona is interested in signing with you.
\"I don\'t have to lie this time.
I know where Barcelona is.
This is the movie I play in my mind while staring at the mirror before every game.
Finally, I always say the same thing to myself before I walk back to the locker room.
Where did I come from? I am here now.
Not true, but I\'m here.
When I was 18, I crossed the ocean in order to have a chance to play for a club against Barcelona.
So can you play for Barcelona?
I am a witness to true genius.
I remember in a training session, Messi did something illogical with the ball at his feet.
Of course, he does it every day.
It\'s just a little different this time.
I need to remind you that this is a very intense training.
We\'re not fooling around.
Messi dribbling at the defensive end like a killer.
Then, as he ran past me, I looked down at his boots, and I thought, is this a joke?
He ran over again, I think, no, it\'s impossible.
He ran over again and now I know what I saw.
His damn boots have been untied. Both of them.
I mean, completely solved.
The guy is playing against the best defender in the world, just floating on the court and he acts like it\'s a Sunday in the park.
That was the moment I knew I would never play with someone like him again in my life.
Then, of course, Guardiola. He is a genius.
Let me say it again. A genius.
Pep will tell you how everything will happen in the game before it happens.
For example, in 2010 against Real Madrid, we played 5-0?
Before the game, Pep told us: \"Today, you are going to play like football.
It will never stay at your feet.
Not even half a second.
If you do, they don\'t have time to put pressure on us.
We win easily.
\"When we leave every pre of him
The game talks like we have 3-0.
We are so powerful and so prepared that we feel like we have won.
The most interesting thing is if we come in half the time.
Neither the time nor the game went well.
Pep will sit down and rub his forehead.
Do you know how he rubbed his head?
You saw it, right?
Just like he was massaging his brain and looking for a genius to come and find him.
He will do it in the dressing room in front of us.
Then, like magic, it will come to him. Bang!
\"We will do that, that, and then that\'s how we score.
Then he would jump up and start giving instructions to draw math and numbers on the blackboard.
So we will go out and we will do this, this and this.
That\'s how we scored. It was crazy.
Pep was the first coach in my life to show me how to play without a ball.
Not only does he ask his players to change their game, but he will also let us sit down and show us why he wants us to change through statistics and videos.
Barcelona\'s team is almost invincible.
We play with memories.
We already know what to do.
We don\'t need to think.
That\'s why, until today, Barcelona is in my heart.
That\'s why when we beat Barcelona in the Champions League, I walked up to my brother Neymar and gave him a hug.
He was crying and part of me wanted to cry too.
I can imagine people reading this and asking me why I want to share these secrets.
In fact, I am 34 years old.
I don\'t know how long I will play.
About two or three years.
I feel like people don\'t understand the whole story of me and me.
When I came to Juventus this season, I felt like I was back home again.
I went to the college when I was 13.
I went to Spain again when I was 18.
Then I went to Italy at the age of 33.
When I first arrived at Juve, it was like going to a new school.
All my life, I like to attack.
Now, I came to a place where they thought the defense was above everything else.
Again, I\'m a dog in the yard.
I stared at the invisible fence. Should I go?
But I did not go.
At the beginning of the season, I wanted to make sure the Juve players understood that I respected their philosophy and history.
Once I\'m sure I get their respect, I\'m also trying to show them my strengths.
One day, I looked at the middle line and I said to myself, should I go? … Bang. Agora.
Attack, attack, attack. (
OK, maybe a little defensive too, or Gianluigi Buffon will yell at me).
Sometimes I think life is a circle.
You see, I can\'t get away from genius.
I got Messi in Barcelona.
I got Paul at Juve.
Genius is everywhere, I swear.
During the day of training, I saw something in Dybala that I had seen before on Messi.
It\'s not just a gift of pure talent.
I have seen it many times in my life.
This is a gift of pure talent combined with the will to conquer the world.
We play by memory in Barcelona.
The situation is different at Juve.
It was our collective mentality that brought us to the Champions League final.
When the whistle rings, we just find a way to win anyway.
Winning is not just a goal for Juve, but an obsession.
There is no excuse.
This Saturday, I had the chance to win my 35 trophies in 34 years on Earth.
This is a special opportunity for me, and it has nothing to do with proving to the Barcelona board that they are making me go wrong.
I know they will never admit it.
This is not the point.
Do you remember what I told you at the Brazilian Academy? I told myself at the time that I would never return to the farm until I made my father proud.
My father is not a very emotional person.
I never knew when I was really proud of him.
He was in Brazil for most of my career.
But in 2015 he saw me personally winning the Champions League final for the first time in Berlin.
I remember celebrating the trophy on the pitch and Barcelona had a special party for the players family.
We have to give the trophy to those who help us realize our dreams.
I remember when it was my turn, I handed the trophy to my father and we all took it and posed for pictures.
He spoke some words in Portuguese that were actually dirty, so I wouldn\'t translate it exactly.
But he basically said, \"My son is the man now.
\"Do you know?
He cried like a baby.
It was the greatest moment of my life.
On Saturday, I will have the opportunity to compete for the Champions League trophy with a very familiar opponent.
As usual, I will study Ronaldo like an obsession.
As usual, I will go to the mirror before the game and play the same movie in my mind.
The screen will turn black, I will remember.