Saturday 12 November 2016, 19:44

Dani Alves: I’m like Picasso

Dani Alves has expressed his pride at being set to win his 100th Brazil cap and compared Tite to Pep Guardiola. The 33-year-old right-wingback will become the fifth player, after Cafu (142), Roberto Carlos (125), Lucio (105) and Taffarel (101), to join the Seleção’s century club if he plays away to Peru in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying on Tuesday.

“It gives me great joy, satisfaction to reach this landmark. At times I don’t know how many good things I’ve lived through and am living through with the national team.

“Since I was 15 years old, when I left my parents, I knew that I would not come back as anything less than a professional, someone who always tries to do his best at every moment, even though at times his best isn’t enough. I’m privileged to be here, because many players have the talent to be in the national team and I’m a chosen one."

The Juventus player then compared himself to pathfinding Spanish painter Pablo Picasso: “As a person I’m like Picasso. Who is able to decipher me, likes me. Who can’t, doesn’t.”

Pep juxtaposing Brazil were sixth in South America’s race to Russia – they were only above seventh-placed Paraguay on goal difference – when Tite took over in July. Thereafter, they have taken 15 points from a possible 15 and sit in pole position, seven clear of fifth-placed Chile.

“The greatness of Tite has turned all of this around,” said Alves. “He doesn’t worry much about those who are playing, but about those who aren’t playing. This way you maintain a high level of productivity. A team is made up of a large squad.

“Tite’s not just a great coach, but also a great manager. He’s not satisfied with what we’ve achieved so far, because our qualification isn’t yet assured. He will take us down the right path, and this reassures us.”

“Tite’s a lot like Guardiola, because Guardiola is also a great manager. They have good results on the pitch because they are great managers. There are things really similar between them. They will improve you and they are people I always want beside me.”

Dani Alves made his Seleção debut ten years ago. The Juazeiro native, who planted and sold melons and worked as an extra in a war film before he became a footballer, scored a superb, last-gasp free-kick to secure Brazil victory over South Africa in the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2009, and has appeared in two World Cups.

He succeeded greats such as Djalma Santos, Carlos Alberto, Leandro, Jorginho and Cafu as Brazil’s right-back.