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Dani Alves Q&A

BARCELONA v CHELSEA - Uefa Champions League, Semi-final first leg
Venue: Camp Nou Date: Tuesday, 28 April Kick-off: 1945 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC London 94.9 FM, DAB & online, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. Also live on ITV1

Dani Alves
Alves is rated as one of the best full-backs in the world

Exclusive By Saj Chowdhury

Last July, a few eyebrows were raised when Barcelona paid Sevilla a bank-busting £20m for right-back Dani Alves.

But since then the 25-year-old Brazil international has proved that he is worth every euro the Catalan giants spent on him with a string of exceptional performances that have seen him underline his tag as the best attacking full-back in the world.

606: DEBATE

Ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash against Chelsea, BBC Sport caught up with Alves and asked him about his move to the Nou Camp, his talented team-mates and the stories that linked him with a move to Stamford Bridge.


Q. Were you surprised by how comfortable Barcelona's quarter-final victory over Bayern Munich was?

Bayern had several important players missing at the Nou Camp, but I think the victory was deserved because Barcelona played some great football in the first leg.

When the team plays at that speed and applies such intense pressure, it is very difficult for opponents to get the ball off us.

Q. It has been an impressive first season for you at Barcelona, both in La Liga and in Europe. What is it like playing in a team that has won so many plaudits?

DANI ALVES FACTS
Dani Alves
BORN: 6 May 1983
POSITION: Right-back
CLUBS: Bahia, Sevilla, Barcelona
GOALS (2008/09): Four
CAPS: 21

When I signed for Barca, I knew their playing style was suited to my game. As the months have gone by, I have been feeling more and more comfortable and now I feel an important part of this machine.

I am enjoying it a lot at the moment, playing alongside these world-class players.

Q. You seem to have a great understanding with Leo Messi. Where would you rate him among the world's best players?

For me, Messi is the number one, with respect to Andres Iniesta, who is also phenomenonal. Leo Messi is a little football God. I love playing alongside him. We understand each other without needing to talk.

Q. A lot of clubs were interested in signing you last summer. Who or what persuaded you to join Barcelona?

I always say that in life you should embrace those who want to embrace you.

Barcelona were the team that showed most interest in me and I knew that they were perfect for me: the way they play, the city - where my family has settled amazingly well - and the Spanish language. I even understand Catalan almost perfectly!

Q. This is Pep Guardiola's first senior coaching job. What is special about him as a coach? How has he helped you as a player? Is the training and coaching different to what you have experienced at other clubs?

Pep is, above all, a very intelligent person. He was a player at the highest level not that long ago and he knows the players very well. He is like one of us.

From day one, he told me I should play the way I know and the way I did for Sevilla, and that's why I signed for Barca. Their way of training is different, because every trainer has their own system. And right now they are showing excellent results.

Q. Have you watched much of Chelsea this season? Were you ever close to joining Chelsea?

I don't know if I was close to signing, you would have to ask my agent that. But there was interest the summer before I signed for Barca.

I watch plenty of football, especially the Premier League because it is great to watch. I have also seen Chelsea in the Champions League - they are certainly having a good season.

Q. Who do you think are the danger men for Chelsea? Will you look for advice from Thierry Henry and Alexander Hleb on how to defend against Chelsea's attack?

It is difficult to pick out just the one name - Chelsea are not just about Didier Drogba. They also have Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and our own Deco, who was a very important player at Barcelona.

Of course I will talk with Titi (Henry) and Alex (Hleb) about these and other players, although we already know nearly all of them.

Q. And finally, do you think there is any team in the world playing better football than Barcelona? Would you be surprised if your team did not win the Champions League?

At the moment, the football played by Barca is probably the most beautiful to watch. However, there are other teams that also play very well, like the three English teams in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

It is a competition that is decided by little details, whichever team is better and has luck on their side. We are confident because of the good work we have done so far in the competition - hopefully we can fulfil our dream and win our third Champions League title.

Text translated from Spanish by Pranav Soneji and Caroline Cheese



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see also
Bosingwa can stop Messi - Hiddink
28 Apr 09 |  Europe
Guardiola's guiding hand
27 Apr 09 |  Europe
Barcelona v Chelsea
27 Apr 09 |  Europe
European photos
26 Apr 09 |  Europe
B Munich 1-1 Barcelona (agg 1-5)
14 Apr 09 |  Europe
Barcelona 4-0 Bayern Munich
08 Apr 09 |  Europe
Chelsea fail in bid to sign Alves
22 Aug 07 |  Chelsea
Liverpool cleared to sign Alves
15 Jun 06 |  Liverpool
Sevilla snub 20m bids for Alves
10 Aug 07 |  Europe
Sevilla snub Chelsea's Alves bid
16 Aug 07 |  Europe


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