If there is anyone who would always be missed by the Camp Nou crowd for years to come, that's Dani Alves. Shockingly, his run at the home of the Blaugrana seems to have come at an end, if reports are to be believed.
A player with supreme skills, ball control and immaculate vision, the Brazilian was also a fan favourite due to his off-field antics and a somewhat weird dressing sense. If reports from Spain and Italy do hold any ground, he may soon be on the way to Turin and sign for Juventus.
Cules, already shaken by the Mascherano rumours, have had another shock to deal with as the Old Lady are reportedly leading the race to sign the Barça duo.
At this point, Alves is not certain to be at Barça next season. Apparently, negotiations began with Juventus one month ago and the agreement was reached, with the exception of the signature, after the Copa del Rey final. It is believed there’s no going back.
“I said that I am happy and I will be, because I am at Barça, because this club has captivated me. But you never know the future. Last year is seemed as if everything was over and I was out the door and I’ve since enjoyed another year of success. I couldn’t ask for any more. I only look at the present. I am a Barça player and I am happy at Barça and a champion of La Liga and the Copa del Rey,” explained Alves.
For a player who has served the club for eight long years with the utmost dedication and sincerity, he would surely be missed if he departed. He is also the third highest provider of assists in Liga history behind Lionel Messi and Luis Figo -- and don't forget he was a defender, apparently. His attacking contribution speaks volumes of his importance to the team, a team which has been dominating European football this century.
The player who would miss Alves the most would undoubtedly be Messi, who shared a mystical understanding with the Brazilian. One of the reasons some people said made Messi great was that he was assisted a lot by Xavi and Iniesta. In reality that wasn't so for any statistics will point to Alves being the culprit. And it was a crime he excelled at.
As much as the Brazilian full-back was known for his on-the-field contributions, he was also as popular off it. Be it pulling pranks on teammates, or taking a dig at rivals, nobody in Barcelona can match him. Also remembered will be the famous incident when a rival fan threw a banana to him during a corner kick and Dani, instead of confronting the racist fan, promptly peeled it and ate in front of the thousands in attendance -- which created a buzz in social media, starting a huge campaign against racism.
Even at 33 years old, Alves would be an asset to any club. If Barca had not come to an arrangement to lithium leave for virtually free a year earlier, the club could also have made some good money by selling their popular defender.
True, it looked at times in previous campaigns that Alves' time may have been up. But he bounced back each time to prove his critics wrong. In the last Liga game in the season which just ended, he outrageously assisted Suarez by crossing the ball when it looked like it had gone out of play.
Juventus, already known for their rock-solid defence, would be much more formidable next year if the deal materializes. Superstars like Paul Pogba or Paulo Dybala would see their chances of collective success instantly boosted.
Dani would be missed for all the contributions he has gifted Barca with. But at the same time, the club mustn't waste any time and sign a good-enough right-back who could fit into the Barca mould. Aleix Vidal's situation isn't looking pleasant and, understandably, Arsenal's Hector Bellerin has been lined up as a potential replacement.
Whoever the new player may be, he would have a hard time trying to fill in Dani's boots. But after all, a club like Barca is always expected to tackle these situations and continue in their winning ways. With several changes to his squad already lined up, it would be interesting to see what will Luis Enrique do to maintain team morale high so that the Catalans can challenge for a treble once again.
In over 118 years of Blaugrana history, there has been a lot of legendary players who have left their mark on the club. Without a doubt, Dani stands proudly as an equal among them. The greatest right-back in Barca history, if rumours of his departure are true, deserves a proper send-off and best wishes from every Cule around the world.