‘I knew this day would come’: 38-year-old Dani Alves returns to Barcelona

Sport

Barcelona have announced the surprise return of right-back Dani Alves, with the 38-year-old set to rejoin the La Liga side for the rest of the season.

Alves, who was without a club, has agreed to rejoin Barça and will be reunited with his former teammate and newly appointed manager Xavi Hernández when he joins the squad next week – although he will not be able to play in matches until January.

Shortly after the club’s announcement, Alves posted a statement on Instagram alongside a picture of him kissing the club badge at the Camp Nou. “I knew within my heart and within my soul that this day would come,” he wrote. “See you soon with the same desire to help rebuild the best club in the world!”

Described as “the greatest right-back in Barça history” in the club’s official announcement of his return, the Brazilian played at the Camp Nou between 2008 and 2016. Alves won six La Liga titles, three Champions League crowns and three Club World Cup trophies among other major honours in a golden spell for the team.

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Alves returned to Brazil with São Paulo in 2019 after 17 years in Europe, also enjoying spells at Sevilla, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. He terminated his contract with São Paulo in September following a dispute over unpaid wages.

The signing of his former teammate is Xavi’s first major move as Barcelona manager. Having replaced Ronald Koeman last week on a contract until 2024, he must rebuild the side who sit ninth in the league. Xavi’s first game in charge will be a derby against Espanyol on 20 November.