Dani Alves could easily pass for one of the most underrated footballers in the history of the game, but the Brazilian right back at the moment is the most decorated active footballer with 34 titles, and third on the all-time list only behind Maxwell-36 titles and Ryan Giggs-35 titles.
It has taken a period of 16 years for the likeable, ever smiling defender to amass his laurels, starting from his first triumph at Brazilian club Bahia: Campeonnato Baiano 2001, to his latest conquest with new club PSG at the weekend: Trophee des Champions.
Alves gained global attention at the 2003 FIFA U20 world cup, where he was selected as the third best player at the tournament. He completed a permanent move to Spanish La Liga club, Sevilla in the summer of 2003 going on to spend the next five trophy-laden years at the Seville-based club, recording some landmark achievements including winning successive UEFA Cup titles; 2005-06, 2006-07.
A move to Barcelona in 2008 appeared to be deserved, as he was recruited by the Catalan giants in their revolution of the club under the new management of Pep Guardiola. Alves constantly delivered during his eight year career at Barcelona, where he played under four different coaches and was always an undisputed starter.
Not surprising for a defender, he never actually got the deserved praises for his contribution to a Barcelona side, whose forwards always grabbed the headlines with each victory and trophy conquest. The 2016 departure of Alves from Barcelona to Juventus on a free transfer exposed numerous deficiencies at the club, thereby highlighting his value to the club.
Barcelona to date have failed to find a replacement for the Brazilian at right back, struggled for consistency in both La Liga and UEFA Champions League last season, a competition they were coincidentally knocked out by Juventus in the quarter-final, with Alves playing a huge role in ensuring the famed MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar) forward line failed to score a goal in 180 minutes of football over two-legs of the encounter.
After spending a season with Juventus, where he earned his third successive league winners medal in two different countries, and also ended up on the losing side in the 2017 UEFA Champions League final, Alves appeared to be headed to Manchester City to reunite with Guardiola after personal wages had been agreed, only for him to make a U-turn at the last minute, rather favouring a move to PSG.
Majority felt his switch to the French capital was motivated by money as the Qatari billionaires reportedly doubled the wages offered by Manchester City.
The player in his defence insisted that he moved to France because he wanted to be a winner, and he has proven just that, less than a month into his PSG career when he netted his first goal and clinched his first trophy against Monaco at the weekend in Morocco.
Considering the two-year deal he signed at PSG, and the quality of the squad on parade at the club, it shouldn’t be surprising if Alves becomes the most decorated footballer of all-time at the end of this season.