Dani Alves has opened up on Xavi’s decision to leave him out of Barcelona’s Europa League squad and admitted that it might have been a big problem in his first spell with the club.
The Brazilian returned to the Camp Nou in January but will not play in Europe after Xavi opted not to include the veteran. Xavi has already admitted he feels bad about the decision and made the call because he has more cover at right-back than in attack.
Alves told Mundo Deportivo that he understands Xavi’s decision and knows it must have been a painful one for the coach to have to make.
“I always understood that life is in phases and I know what phase I am in now, closer to the end than the beginning. If he does this to me when I’m 25 years old, we might get into fistfights,” he said. “But now we’re here to help Barça and I know it hurt him to have to make the decision to leave me out, but a decision had to be made, life is for the brave and we must bear the consequences.”
The veteran also opened on up on what it would feel like to see Barcelona win the Europa League without him. He explained, “Yes, it is a Barça title. Although it will taste different, if Barça is champion and I’m not playing, the taste will be different… but let Barça be champions.”
Barcelona are midway through a quarter-final tie with Eintracht Frankfurt. The teams are level at 1-1 ahead of the second leg at the Camp Nou on Thursday, April 14.
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Alves Suffers Not Playing
The Brazilian also admitted that sitting out Barcelona’s games has been difficult. The full-back explained how tough he found watching his side draw against Eintracht Frankurt at the Waldstadion.
“You suffer, because you are not inside helping, but the team was serene, I think it was very hard. If you loosen up, it gets complicated,” he said. “We have experienced knockout matches there, against German teams, which are very constant, and that makes the matches very physical. You have to make an extra effort and, because of how it could have turned out, after the first part of the tie Barcelona came out stronger.”
Xavi was forced to employ center-back Ronald Araujo at right-back with Alves ineligible and Sergino Dest out injured. The Uruguayan could continue on the flank in the return at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona Favorites to Win Europa League?
Barcelona will be favorites to win the return leg against Eintracht Frankfurt and progress to a semi-final against either West Ham United or Lyon. Alves thinks his team should also be favorites to go all the way and win the competition.
He added, “Undoubtedly, both Barcelona and the Brazil team must always be taken into account as favorites whenever they play, because of their quality, their game and their history.”
Barca have never won the Europa League and indeed it’s a competition they would prefer not to be competing in. However, there’s no doubt that clinching the trophy and finishing second in La Liga would represent a successful season.