9 questions for Brazil's Dani Alves
Ahead of his side’s World Cup semi-final clash with Germany tonight, the Brazil wing back talks competition for places, creating chances and carnivals.EDGAR staff July 8, 2014
At the semi-final stage, what are Brazil’s chances of winning tournament, do you think, and how much does home advantage count?
We have to be favourites. The home side is always favourites and we have a great squad, a great coach. It is all coming together and the Brazilian people won’t forgive us if we don’t give a good account of ourselves.
You scored in the 2007 Copa America final, and got the winner in the 2009 Confederations Cup semi-final, too. Does that give you an appetite to do the same on the biggest stage?
Yes. I am not a player that is expected to score goals, so that side doesn’t matter at all, but playing in those big games makes you look at the World Cup, which is so much bigger, and just daydream about what it would be like to win it.
Does that mean the pressure is on?
I wouldn’t say that, quite the opposite in fact. Football brings pressure but we are about going out there and expressing ourselves as a team, playing the game in the right way and doing it the Brazilian way. The home fans will help us a lot, they are our 12th man.
You may face your Barcelona team mate, Lionel Messi, in the final, which can’t be a pleasant thought…
That would be pretty incredible. It would be a massive match, the biggest the continent could offer. He is an outstanding player, and I face him a lot in training. So I would welcome the chance to face him in a big game like that.
When Messi broke Barca’s scoring record, you had provided more assists than anyone else in the side.
This is true, and I will tell Leo now that I won’t be helping him like that in Brazil! In Brazil we have outstanding forwards and it is a big part of my game to provide crosses and passes for them to get chances from. So Leo will have to do without my help on that front, although there are plenty of good players in the Argentina side who will be setting him up with chances. I’m sure of that.
Barca have won so much, and you are one of their most decorated players. How do you transfer that to the international scene?
Barcelona have helped to redefine football in many ways, to take it back to its roots, its origins. They love playing football, and they want it to be fun, enjoyable, an expression of yourself. That’s how I’ve always seen how the game should be played, so I fitted into the team there very well. Now I see Brazil playing the game more and more like that, too. We are relaxing, we are giving enjoyment back to the fans by enjoying the way we play ourselves.
What does your coach, Phil Scolari, tell you to do before each match? Is his emphasis on attack or defence?
We like to keep things defensively tight, and I think we are changing the image of Brazil’s defenders. We have shown that defenders can be star players for Brazil as well as the forwards, who are always more famous in the Seleção shirt. So our first responsibility is to keep things tight, but he also allows me to get forward when I can. I do that for Barcelona and we see that it works, so I will be trying to cause trouble down the flank when I can.
Brazil is a country where every kid plays football, what are your memories of kicking one about as a child?
I grew up in Juazeiro, and every boy would play football there. I played non-stop with my neighbours. And my father was a huge football fan who would arrange games and eventually had his own team. I played for the team as a winger, but then I got moved back to right back, which is where I play now. That education made me the player I am today.
You’re famous for busting out some dance moves when your side wins. Have you got any special moves planned for the World Cup final, if you win that?
If Brazil can win the World Cup final, you would not be able to stop me dancing for a couple of months straight, I don’t think. The whole country would have the biggest carnival ever, you can’t imagine it! Dani Alves is an Adidas player.