Barcelona fans may have lost some respect for Dani Alves after his role in Neymar’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this summer but they should never forget just how extraordinary he was for their club.
The Brazilian full-back arrived at the Camp Nou from Sevilla in July 2008, for an initial fee of £23 million, and nobody could have predicted back then what he’d go on to achieve with the Catalan giants.
Alves was magnificent during his time at Barça and played a pivotal role in the club’s remarkable success under Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova and then Luis Enrique.
The South American won six La Liga titles, four Copa del Reys, four Spanish Super Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, three FIFA Club World Cups and three Champions Leagues.
Without the indefatigable ‘defender’, who made the right flank at the Camp Nou his own, it’s fair to assume that Barça would have found it much tougher to dominate world football.
Alves may have angered a few people at the Camp Nou by encouraging Neymar to join PSG but he will always have a huge soft spot his former employers - even though his own exit was rather acrimonious.
Alves reacts to Paulinho's goal v Eibar
The 34-year-old tuned into Barça’s La Liga clash against Eibar on Tuesday night and couldn’t help but react on Instagram when his compatriot, Paulinho, scored on his first start for the club.
He seemed to find it quite amusing that Paulinho had scored, judging by the laughing emojis, but the PSG star also wrote, per Marca: "He is going to appear very cheap.”
Check it out...
He might have a point, to be fair.
Paulinho is silencing the doubters
Eyebrows are raised when Barcelona splashed out €40 million for Paulinho last month but the Brazil international, who arrived from Guangzhou Evergrande, has now scored two goals in two appearances for his new employers following his dramatic winner against Getafe last Saturday.
You can watch his individual highlights v Eibar HERE.
Certainly, if Paulinho can keep up these performances, €40 million will look like small change - especially in the current market - for the much-maligned midfielder who has endured plenty of unfair criticism from Barça supporters simply because he doesn’t seem to suit the club’s style of play.
He could turn out to be one of the surprise success stories of the 2017-18 campaign at this rate.