Dani Alves Shows No Respect Toward Chelsea or Other Styles of Play

Frank WagnerCorrespondent IApril 17, 2012

So much for Andres Iniesta's statements ahead of Barcelona's Champions League Semi-Final with Chelsea, when he said, "You have to respect [Chelsea]."

Dani Alves clearly feels differently.

Talking to The Guardian about Barca's controversial victory over Chelsea in the 2009 Champions League Semi-Final, Alves said:

People say Chelsea could have won but for the referee but that is not our problem. We do not control the referees. We are there to play football, to compete and to try to reach the final. What can we do about the referee?

Chelsea did not reach the final because of fear. The team that has got a man more, is playing at home and winning should have attacked us more. But of course, if you don't have that concept of football that Barcelona have, you stay back and you get knocked out.

You have to go forward. Stay back: losers. Go forward: winners. I think Chelsea lacked the courage to take a step forward and attack us. They paid for it.

To be fair to Alves, he also said that "there is no doubt that [the second leg in 2009] was the hardest game we have played." However, the rest of his comment speaks for itself.

For the sake of argument, let's dismiss Chelsea's four shouts for penalties (which might be hard for Blues' supporters); was the loss really a result of Chelsea's lack of attacking play, let alone their "fear" of going forward?

This was clearly not the case.

Chelsea's counter-attacking play in that match worked perfectly for 92 minutes, allowing them to hold a 1-0 lead while creating more chances despite having only 29 percent of the possession.

It was the Blues' defensive play, a hallmark of their tactics, that allowed them to approach the match like this and be successful.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is very easy to say that Chelsea should have pushed for a second goal; however, the fact is that playing the way they did, they came very close to grabbing one on several occasions.

Not going on full-out attack and opening yourself up at the back is not a symptom of fear, but rather the style that Chelsea employed and which made them successful for years.

Maybe it's not the style of football that Barca employ, but that's okay.

In the end, it was a careless mistake by Essien and a beautiful moment of skill by Iniesta that lost the tie for Chelsea, not the style that had them moments away from victory.

And that's not even taking into account any controversial refereeing.

There's more than one way to play football and more than one way to find success; that's why we love this game.

Combined with his comments that "at Barcelona we are taking football back to its origins," Alves's words strike of naivete and hubris.

While Barca are seemingly the best team in the world, this is due mostly to the skill of their players; it does not make it necessarily true that all other strategies besides their own are wrong, worse or, as Alves suggested, typifying of fear.

It just means that they are different.

To suggest otherwise is a slap in the face of some of the historically great sides in football, most notably Helenio Herrera's Inter side and their catenaccio system.

After all, wasn't it an Inter Milan side with starkly contrasting tactics that knocked Barca out of the Champions League in 2010?