Dani Alves snubs Lionel Messi in his Barcelona dream team selection

By Colin Millar

Dani Alves has selected his dream team of former Barcelona players comprised of the strongest player in each of the main four positions.

The Brazilian became the first signing of new Barca boss Xavi Hernandez when he returned to the club in November after five-and-a-half years away.

Alves started in Wednesday night’s Copa del Rey victory over third tier Linares, as Barca came from a goal down to triumph in a narrow victory and avoid an embarrassing exit.

It was Alves’s first appearance for Barca since the 2016 Copa del Rey final against Sevilla – 2,054 days previously, when he was aged just 33.

The talismanic right-back has now selected his top four club legends for Barca, but perhaps surprisingly has overlooked his former teammate Lionel Messi for the attacking position.

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Alves chose a former Barca teammate in each of the four positions, with Victor Valdes selected as goalkeeper with Carles Puyol as the defender and current boss Xavi as the midfielder.

Perhaps controversially, the Brazilian did not select Messi as his designated attacker and instead opted for Samuel Eto’o – the club’s former Cameroonian striker.

Eto’o enjoyed a remarkable career which was perhaps most memorable for his five seasons at the Camp Nou, where he netted an impressive 130 first-team goals across 199 appearances.

Alves described the striker as a “machine for killing goalkeepers.”

Of course, it has been suggested that these teams are comprised of players who are now retired from playing – but this does not appear to be the case.

When the club’s current boss and former boss Xavi selected his side, his chosen midfielder was Andres Iniesta – who is still playing football in Japan for Vissel Kobe.

The criteria does appear to be somewhat ambiguous, with players asked to choose Barca legends who no longer play for the club.

Messi and Alves played alongside each other at the Catalan club between 2008 and 2016, where they won an eye-catching 23 trophies together – just shy of three per season.

The pair share a close relationship away from the pitch too thanks to their time together at the Camp Nou and their multiple meetings across South American international games.

The Brazilian said on Messi following his Camp Nou exit: "I'm very sorry for Messi and for Barça, but sometimes in life there are cycles that have to be closed.

"Messi will continue to be Messi and Barca will continue to be Barca, but a little less special."

The two players currently have won more titles than anyone else in football with Alves on 42 crowns and Messi racking up 36 during his senior career.


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