It’d be foolish to suggest Dani Alves’ role in Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona dream team is often overlooked.
Still, in comparison to the esteem in which Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andreas Iniesta are held, it’s sometimes easy to forget that it was the arrival of Alves in 2008, just as Guardiola was taking over, that marked one of the biggest changes in modern football history.
Attacking full-backs have always been prevalent in the game but the Brazilian’s ability to link up with Messi in particular, effectively becoming an attacking midfielder from right-back, paved the way for the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Achraf Hakimi.
The Messi-Alves partnership is the stuff of legend and there was perhaps no better example of their almost telepathic understanding than a Champions League meeting between Barca and Paris Saint-Germain in 2013.
Dropping back into a central midfield position after a corner was cleared at the Parc des Princes, Alves produced arguably his greatest assist for the Argentinan.
Flicking the outside of his boot, he looped the ball over the PSG defence just as Messi ghosted into the space behind them before finishing with aplomb.
Of their relationship, Alves would say (via Sky Sports in 2018): “It was very strange because from the time I arrived at Barcelona, from the first day, we had this very, very, very, very weird connection – I mean that in a positive way.
“I remember the first game we played together as if it was today. We were doing one-twos all the time, we understood each other with no more than a little look. We knew exactly where the other one was.
”It was surprising for me because I came from Sevilla, from a totally different style of football to Barcelona. In that moment, that connection with Leo, it was like setting off fireworks. I said to myself, ‘Wow, I’m going to play here for a club which defends what the word football really means’.”