By Agbonkhese Oboh
Dani Alves long-awaited return is over, as he was presented to fans on Wednesday, bristling with energy and radiating pure love for the Barcelona shirt.
He bounded unto the pitch, grinning and then gripped the Barca badge on his shirt for a kiss.
He picked grass from Camp Nou pitch, smelled it and said: “This smells like Camp Nou.
“This smells like cups. This smells like titles.”
In the beginning
He joined Barca from Sevilla in 2008, collected 23 trophies in 391 appearances and scoring 21 goals.
Dani Alves left in 2016. But is back after two earlier attempts.
However, it feels like nothing happened in those years, as his high spirits is sure to help his former teammate, now coach, Xavi, in the dressing room.
And he has been given the No. 8 jersey. That’s an additional call to duty, as the last player that had that number on his back was the inimitable Andres Iniesta.
I’m still shocked — Dani Alves
Dani Alves told BarcaTV+: “I’m still shocked. As I had said publicly, I had been trying to return for a long time.
“I tried twice to return, but it wasn’t possible.
“Now, to return to work with people who know about my commitment on and off the pitch is a pleasure and a privilege.
“I always say that there are two shirts that make me feel like a superhero when I wear them: Brazil and Barcelona shirts.
“To wear this shirt again gives me a boost of strength and adrenaline. I hope I can transmit that to my teammates.
“My nicest memories in football happened here at Barcelona.
“My home is here in Barcelona, my closest relatives live here in Barcelona, so it was inevitable that I returned to Barcelona.
“The pleasant surprise is to come back as a player, but if not I would still have returned to Barcelona because it’s a fascinating city that I love.
“We need to believe that we are Barcelona, the best club in the world.
“Sometimes it sounds demagogic to say ‘it’s the best club in the world’, but I’ve been elsewhere and I know what I’m saying: this is the best club in the world, Barcelona is unique.
“I’m not saying it just because I’m here. Those who have left know what I’m talking about. To be here is a great honour.”