The Brazilian full-back is revered at Camp Nou, having enjoyed great success with Barcelona since he signed for them from Sevilla in 2008.
Attacking with abandon, Alves has been one of Barcelona’s greatest threats during the past six years.
He gets down the flank and supports the forwards, chipping in with crucial goals and assists.
While this occasionally comes at a defensive cost, Alves’ dynamism means that he can get back to help his team shut out goals as well.
As well as other minor silverware, Alves has picked up four La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and two Champions League wins with Barcelona.
That has endeared him to supporters, but his frank speaking off the field has won him many fans as well.
During pre-match press conferences and in the mixed zone after games, journalists are always happy to see Alves show up.
He is a candid, lively talker and is never afraid to speak his mind.
Alves has a slightly loopy dress sense but more than matches it with his exuberant comments, particularly refreshing in an era where most footballers have every square inch of character trained out of them by PR gurus.
There is a slight irony, then, that his decision to eat a banana flung at him by a Villarreal fan was actually concocted by a Brazilian PR company, as per AS.
But it doesn’t lessen the impact of his actions—the subject of racism in Spanish football is being discussed far more now than if he had ignored the banana or given it to the assistant referee.
So, why are Barcelona planning on selling Alves to PSG?
The Brazilian has already told his international team-mates, Thiago Silva and Alex, whom he may play alongside next season in France, that he is coming to join them.
There are a few reasons—and the most important of them is money.
Alves’ contract expires in the summer of 2015, and so if he is going to leave Barcelona, it makes sense to do it now when they can still get a transfer fee for him.
At 30 years old he still has two or three more strong seasons in him, so teams like PSG would be willing to stump up a fair few million for him.
The transfer ban is an interesting issue too. Currently it is suspended, but it could come back into force if Barcelona’s appeal is unsuccessful.
That means the club should do as much of its business as possible now, including planning for the future.
Top of the list of requirements is a central defender, but after that, there is some general patchwork required.
Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado, a right-sided player, is the prime candidate to replace Alves, as per Sport (H/T Football Espana), with Barcelona youngster Martin Montoya likely to play more next term too.
The club believes that the pair, Cuadrado at 25 and Montoya at 23, is good enough to be the long-term future of the team at right-back.
Cuadrado is also used to playing as a right-winger, so he adds extra versatility to the Barcelona squad.
With the departure of Alves, Barcelona will not only lose a fine football player and a club legend, but also an excellent spokesman who really understands the club and its supporters.
But money talks, and there is an art to selling players at the right time.
Although Alves is loved and is part of the fabric of the club, it is not the same as discarding someone who grew up with Barcelona, like Xavi, Andres Iniesta or Lionel Messi.
Players come and go, and although Barcelona will be sad to see the back of Alves, it is a deal that will work well for both parties, given the riches he is likely to acquire in Paris.
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