Dani Alves' guide to each of Barça's young stars
The Brazilian defender is thrilled to be at Barça and playing with kids of this level
“I am very privileged, I’m living through incredible things from the front line,” said Dani Alves, who’s getting every drop of juice out of his second spell at FC Barcelona. Among a thousand things he talked about to SPORT in the office when he came in for a chat that went over two hours, we asked him for a breakdown of what he saw in Barcelona’s youngsters.
“He’s a particular person, an old soul, and on another level. it’s amazing to have him by my side. I’m very lucky, I’m seeing incredible things from the front line. I don’t like to compare him to anyone but in football it’s inevitable. Don Andres is don Andres. For me Pedri is not Xavi or Iniesta, but a mix of the two.
I even think he can score more than either did. He tries a lot from the edge of the box, he shoots well, he’s improving a lot in that aspect.”
“He was a big surprise for me. Despite following Barça, I didn’t know him. He’s a player with incredible quality that, on top of that, has a competitive madness. He’s more aggressive than Pedri. Without wanting to launch too many rockets, I think these players can mark an era at Barça like Xavi and Iniesta did. For their quality and the will they have. Current football is a bit different, but they have everything they need to succeed.”
“He’s an essential type of player in the squad. Every team needs players of his profile. Battlers. People with strength, character. He’s naturally like that. He can be a big leader in the dressing room in the reconstruction process. When the veterans, we leave in time, people like him will have to take a step forward. It’s very important in a team to count on players like Ronald. Football is not about putting on shorts and going out to play. You need more to create a good atmosphere. We are well served by the youngsters. Us veterans try and soak up what they teach us.”
“Nico is a box-to-box player. He’s very promising. He has to learn from the best maestro, Xavi. To be able to get advice from a historic player is a blessing for him. I insist, it’s hard to find a generation of great young players who complement each other because they have different profiles.
“Ansu was born to score goals. From afar, he reminds me of Samuel Eto’o. He’s a machine who can destroy defences. I think he can mark the next era too, a special history at Barcelona. It will depend, like the other youngsters, if he takes the right road and optimises his qualities. Fame is the biggest distraction there is in life. You have to be able to control it.”
Topics with the letter