Dani Alves isn't getting any younger..

Should Dani Alves be fearing for his place at Barcelona?

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Dani Alves should feel rightly aggrieved. Season in and season out, all of the plaudits at Barcelona seem to fall at the feet of the forwards or attacking midfielders.

It neatly bypasses the fact that Alves remains the player with most assists to Lionel Messi over the last few years.

Indeed, it's entirely noticeable when Alves isn't in-situ.


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His replacements to this point, with the possible recent exception of Sergi Roberto, have been nowhere near the quality required at Barca.

Martin Montoya tried, and failed for three to four seasons to dislodge the Brazilian from his right-back slot and the signing of Douglas was one of the oddest transfers in Barcelona history. 

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By the end of the 2014/15 season, Douglas had made only two full first-team appearances.

Roberto, by virtue of Alves' own injury at the start of the campaign, finally began to make a name for himself, albeit in a role he wasn't familiar with.

In so-doing, it gave the youngster the confidence to finally become the player everyone at the club knew he was.

Moreover, it gave Luis Enrique different options in the event of injuries and illnesses.

Alves has continued to keep Roberto at bay and provide his usual excellence but the goalposts are about to be moved.

From January 1, Aleix Vidal can put six months of training to good use.


Along with Arda Turan, the ex-Sevilla man has had to sit back and watch as his team-mates have taken the field each week, sometimes twice a week. Sat, twiddling his thumbs, counting down the days.

Arguably, Vidal hasn't signed just to make up the numbers and he'll be chomping at the bit to ensure that a starting berth is his in no time.

For the first time in his Barcelona career, that means Alves has genuine competition for his place.

Vidal is six years younger than the Brazilian and has an effervescence about his play that is every bit as intoxicating as Alves'.

With six months of work already behind him, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Vidal slot in to the side with immediate effect and have just as much of an influence as his contemporary.


Interestingly, Alves did sign his new contract in the immediate aftermath of the Champions League victory in June, knowing that Vidal had already been signed.

A throwing down of the gauntlet rather than retreating into his shell has characterised Alves' attitude throughout his career and an extension of his contract is another sign of the same.

That bodes well for Luis Enrique who will have two world-class players to do battle down the right side but, frankly, Vidal hasn't joined to continue his stay on the bench any longer than is necessary.

Lucho can't really afford to drop Alves on current form but neither can he hold Vidal back. 

Alves should be fearing for his place. If not now then by season's end.

Who should start at right-back for Barcelona in the New Year? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below

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