Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo believes Barcelona’s buccaneering No. 2 Dani Alves is the best full-back to ever kick a ball.
The Brazilian legend continues to play at the highest level of the sport at the age of 38, returning to Barcelona earlier this season and recently netting in the club’s 4-2 win over Atletico Madrid in La Liga, which moved Xavi’s side back into the top four ahead of the capital club.
That match was Alves’ 885th appearance in the sport since bursting onto the scene as a precocious attacking right-back for hometown club Bahia, whom he represented between 2001 and 2002 before sealing a move to Sevilla two decades ago.
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Since finding his footing in La Liga, Alves has gone on to reach unprecedented heights for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, mopping up trophies in Spain, Italy, France and back in Brazil with Sao Paulo — as well as at international level, scooping two Copa Americas (2007 and 2019).
His trophy-spangled career has led Cancelo, who is widely considered one of — if not the — best full-backs in the Premier League to sing his praises, even going as far as to brand Alves “the best full-back ever” — and someone he idolised when he was growing up.
Cancelo told City’s club website: “I’ll be honest, in my position, my childhood idol is Daniel Alves. I didn’t watch a lot of Cafu because I was too young, so I don’t remember much from seeing him play.
“But Daniel Alves, in my opinion, is the best full-back ever. I’m a huge fan of his work, I am a fan of what he does on the pitch but also of the sense of freedom with which he plays.
“The joy with which he plays this sport, with which he loves this sport. He’s a role model for me in that regard. I love him as a player. I’ve never met him, but I’d love to. I think that sooner or later we’ll get to meet each other.
“I’m sure we’d have a great conversation.”