Dropped by Brazil following World Cup disaster, it has been an interesting few weeks in the life of Dani Alves—a man accustomed to success and plaudits over the course of a career that has glistened for the past decade.
To make matters worse, it was claimed by Sao Paulo president Carlos Miguel Aidar that the veteran full-back would be on his way out of Barcelona in the weeks ahead as Barcelona seek to tie up a deal for compatriot Douglas, per Sport (h/t Goal.com's Enis Koylu).
"I have decided to stay here with Barca," Alves responded in a press conference earlier this week, per Football Espana, with one-time suitors PSG having secured a long-term right-back option in Ivorian Serge Aurier.
"The day will come when I need to leave, but I'd like to leave here with the feeling that people believe that they have had a professional at the club. If I left now I'd be going without that feeling. It has seemed that everything going on at the club has been my fault."
The 31-year-old's comments came in the wake of a friendly fixture with Mexican side Club Leon, prior to which he had been booed by large sections of the Camp Nou support following a summer in which he has been seen as courting a move away from the club.
A clause in his contract allows right back Dani Alves (31) to decide himself next summer if he stays at Barcelona for another season [sport]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) August 22, 2014
However, as confirmed by the player himself in his pre-La Liga opening weekend press conference, there is still a year remaining on his contract with an option for a further year, which the player himself can trigger.
Interestingly, perhaps with their impending transfer ban in mind, Marca report that Barcelona are still set to complete the €6 million capture of Douglas with a view to a loan move for the season ahead.
Once seen as a potentially exciting prospect, the full-back has rarely looked to be anywhere near the standard required to play for a club such as Barcelona. It is a move that has been greeted with shock even in Brazil.
Mascherano at CB and Dani Alves at RB in Luis Enrique's first XI.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 24, 2014
For the moment, then, it would appear that Dani Alves' tenure in the Barcelona right-back position will continue under new manager Luis Enrique and, as he himself suggests, he has much to prove.
There has been a clear drop in the full-back's output, having fallen from double figures in La Liga assists three years running between 2009 and 2012 to just two last season, per Whoscored.com statistics.
Defensively, also, the statistics show a smaller but still undeniable reduction in his contributions over the same time period. Given his importance to Barcelona's system in the Guardiola era, such a drop off is keenly felt by the team as a whole.
With international managers Luiz Felipe Scolari and Dunga also feeling that his output has dropped below that of Maicon, a couple of years his senior, Alves has much to prove.
He will remain with Barcelona and has a chance to prove himself worthy of continued inclusion ahead of young pretender Martin Montoya for the season ahead.
Alves has proven himself to be mentally strong in the past and the frustrated tone of his press conference hinted at a burning desire to right what he feels are the wrongs of how he was treated by the club's support.
The fall guy too often for club and country, despite his consistent success for such an extended period of time, restoring faith this season will be a matter of personal pride for the Barcelona star.