Dani Alves has played either with or against every top player in world football during his professional career.
The 32-year-old spent six years with Sevilla before joining Barcelona, at the start of Pep Guardiola’s tenure at the Camp Nou, in 2008. The Brazilian full-back also has 87 international caps to his name and has won more titles (29) than any other defender in football history.
So, when asked to name his toughest opponent, you’d assume Alves would have chosen someone like Cristiano Ronaldo - a genuine modern great of the game. But no, instead he named James Milner. Yes, really.
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“I have faced many, but the most annoying was James Milner,” the South American revealed an interview with The Times. “He follows you forward and follows you backwards. It’s very difficult because he attacks you and defends you, and then attacks you and defends you again.”
In fairness to Milner, he is a tireless worker. The England international went head-to-head with Alves in the Champions League last season while playing for Manchester City and had clearly been instructed to limit Alves’ impact on the right-hand side of the pitch.
Milner left City for Liverpool last summer
Unfortunately for Manchester City, they still ended up losing the two-legged tie 3-1. They had no answer for Luis Suarez in the first leg or Lionel Messi in the second.
Milner now plies his trade for Liverpool after completing a free transfer to Anfield in the summer. While he has shown glimpses of his class, the 30-year-old is yet to become a focal point of Jurgen Klopp’s team.
Is Dani Alves still the world’s best right-back? Let us know by leaving a comment below.