Copa América - Dani Alves: Brazil's captain celebrates historic 40th title
Things got really exhausting for Dani Alves after the tournament. As the final against Peru and whipped Brazil had won 3-1, the Brazilian team captain had to climb three times on the improvised stage in Maracanã Stadium.
For the first time, Alves accepted the Fair Play Award for his team, then, with increasing cheers, the award for Best Player of the Tournament, and finally, with a big grin, this unwieldy trophy for winning the Copa América.
Brazil won the South American Championship for the ninth time. At home, the five-time world champion is unbeatable, at least at this tournament. Whenever Brazil stages the Copa, the trophy stays in the country. The last time was 2007. Even then, Alves was already there. Twelve years later, the player who was 36 years, two months, and one day old at the finals had the biggest share in the renewed success. Only Japanese keeper Eiji Kawashima was still a few days older than Daniel Alves.
The right-back, who have been without a club since his departure from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, made more and more advertising from game to game in this tournament. Alves was an emotional leader, difference player, scorer. "He has an incredible mental strength," says national team reporter Breiller Pires: "He has welded the team together here."
Alves took on all the roles Neymar intended to play before the tournament, who preferred to stay away from the Copa in a mix of injury and legal issues. The longer the tournament lasted, the less talked about the superstar. Alves not only forgot Neymar next to the court but also on the pitch. He brought the most passes in his team to the team, beat the safest long balls, had the best player openings and recorded the most ball gains. Even in a team brimming with beautiful players, he was still the third best dribbler. From time to time it seemed like the right-back wearing the jersey with the number 10 of the playmaker on his back.
"Price for endurance and consistency"
Alves enjoyed his role. You almost always saw him laughing at this Copa. In the Mixed Zone, where he patiently spoke to journalists in Spanish or Portuguese, at press conferences or on the field. And incidentally, he still has the 40th title of his career collected, no footballer has more trophies to offer than the right-back, 23 of which he has brought alone in his eight years at FC Barcelona.
His personal award for best player of the Copa called Alves the "Prize for Stamina and Stability". "But the best part for me in this Copa is that we celebrated here in our country, in our football temple and with our families, and made the young players in our team happy," Alves told SPIEGEL after the final.
His career at the Seleçao last summer was actually over. Shortly before the tournament, the defensive player suffered a ligament injury in his right knee. National coach Tite went to Paris specifically to see if his right-back would be fit in time. He was not, Brazil remained with the fixed star Neymar in the quarterfinals to Belgium. "It would not have happened to Dani Alves," says Breiller Pires. That may also have thought coach Tite when he retrieved Alves at the beginning of the preparation for the Copa and he immediately applied for the captain's armband.
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Alves, in turn, described his coach as the true captain of this ship, called "Seleçao," which, after all, has sailed quite sturdily through the tournament. It has not only triumphed the team with big individual players, but also the most compact team. Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker remained undefeated out of the game. And in front, the offensive players took advantage of initial problems the few opportunities that offered them.
For example, almost five years after winning 1-7 in the World Cup semi-final against Germany, Brazil have won a major title at the Maracanã stadium. The spectators celebrated the victory as euphorically as if they had just turned back time and brought Brazil the world title. "É campeão" roared through the historically charged stadium. Forgetting the accusations of Argentina's Lionel Messi, who criticizes the organizers of the Copa. And yet: Tite has a bigger mission. 2022, Qatar, World Cup. Then finally the sixth world title should be fetched.
Dani Alves would then be 39. Is that still a goal? He answered the question that evening: "It's a goal I have, but the ticket to the World Cup has to be worked hard, so you have to walk a lot, but I can do that brilliantly."
8th imagesTitle collector Alves: Danis 40
Brazil - Peru 3: 1 (2: 1)
1: 0 Everton (15)
1: 1 Guerrero (44th, penalty kick)
2: 1 Gabriel Jesus (45. + 3)
3: 1 Richarlison (90th)
BrazilAlisson - Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro - Arthur, Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho (77th Eder Militao), Everton (90th + 3th Allan) - Roberto Firmino (75th Richarlison)
Peru: Gallese - Advincula, Zambrano, Abram, Miguel Trauco - Tapia (82nd Gonzales), Yotun (78th Ruidiaz), Flores, Cueva, Carrillo (86th Polo) - Guerrero
referee: Roberto Tobar
yellow cards: Thiago Silva, Richarlison / Tapia, Zambrano, Advincula
Yellow Red: Gabriel Jesus (70.)