Dani Alves has revealed that Lionel Messi helped to convince him to stay at Barcelona, with the four-time Ballon d’Or winner claiming a move anywhere else would have been a step down.
Alves signed a new two-year contract - with the option of a third year - with recently-crowned European champions Barcelona earlier this week, despite previously stating he was on the brink of leaving the Camp Nou.
This came as a blow to Manchester United, who had been strongly linked with the Brazil international over recent weeks.
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Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Alves was quoted by Spanish newspaper AS as saying: “[Messi] told me ‘Dani, stay – where are you going to be better than here?’
“And a long time ago we said that we lived very well at this club. We had things in this city that met all of our needs. One year ago, when it was rumoured that they wanted to sign Leo and that they wanted to sell me, we spoke and we said that we were not going to be better than being here.”
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Alves: It was no about the money
Alves hinted that he had a better offer from elsewhere, presumably Manchester United, but added his final decision was not based around money.
“It was not just a matter of financial understanding because if it was for money I would not be at this club,” the 32-year-old continued.
Alves said there have been times over the past few months where he has felt uncomfortable at Barcelona, believing some were unfairly pinning the blame on his shoulders when things were going wrong.
But since then, with Barcelona having won all three major trophies, Alves no longer has doubts over how those at the club regard him and, subsequently, agreed to sign the contract extension.
“As I said in the celebrations and on many occasions, I am only at the places where I feel loved. For a few moments I had doubted it and the other day it was very clear to me that the people love me,” Alves commented. “That was one of the things that made me take the decision to stay.”
Barcelona needed to keep Alves
It was essential that Barcelona secured Alves’s services, with Martin Montoya and Douglas - the club’s other right-back options - nowhere near the same level of quality.
Alves was superb in the second half of the season and remains a hugely popular figure inside the Camp Nou dressing room, with Messi even admitting the Brazilian is his best friend at the club.
And it seems that friendship has ultimately denied Manchester United the signature of one of the world’s best full-backs.
Manchester United fans: are you disappointed that Dani Alves has decided to stay at Barcelona? Have your say in the comments below!