Barefoot at Barca: Dani Alves ‘living the dream’ after Barcelona return

Dani Alves was cheered by a crowd of more than 10,000 as he was introduced to Barcelona fans again on Wednesday. Stepping barefoot onto the field at Camp Nou Stadium, Alves said he insisted on returning to help put the Catalan club back on track.

The 38-year-old Brazil defender said he will be ready to fight for a starting spot when he is eligible to play in January.

“I come to compete, not just to spend time and live in Barcelona,” Alves said. “I come to play and to fight for a spot on the team. I’m not back just because I have a very good relationship with the coach or the president. With hard work I’ll try to contribute anyway I can.”

Alves was without a club since leaving Brazilian team Säo Paulo in September. He signed a contract with Barcelona until the end of the season, the club’s first campaign without Lionel Messi in nearly two decades.

A crowd bigger than the one that welcomed new coach Xavi Hernández was at Camp Nou as club president Joan Laporta introduced Alves, who took off the sandals he was wearing before stepping onto the field.

“I had to get serious with the president and insisted that I wanted to come back,” Alves said. “I knew I could help. Then I got a call from Xavi and everything after that was very easy. When you want something you can make it happen. Money is not the most important thing. It’s not time to think about money. It’s time to return to help Barça. Everything else is secondary.”

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