Dani Alves is proud to have made Brazil’s World Cup squad at the age of 39, but the veteran campaigner knows what he can deliver.
Brazil defender Dani Alves has no doubt over what he can offer to Tite’s World Cup squad, despite being 39.
Former Barcelona and Juventus full-back Alves has made the 26-man squad for Qatar but is yet to take part in the tournament.
That looks set to change on Friday, with Tite ringing in Brazil’s final Group G match against Cameroon, with the Selecao’s place in the last 16 already assured.
Alves – who made his debut for Brazil in 2006 – admits he is no longer at his peak but is confident in what he can bring to the team.
“[I’m] very proud to be here,” he said at a press conference.
“I’ve been doing this with the team for many years, so to be able to end this cycle by playing in the World Cup is very pleasing for me.
“When you work hard, dedicate yourself and go after what you want, you get to places you never thought possible. That’s what life gives me.”
“All 16 years in the team, I did my best for the team. Life always rewards people who love what they do and do their best in the mission.
“I will reap what I have sown in these 16 years. It’s normal that people question it because of my age or because I’m not in the best shape, but the World Cup is not about being the best for the club, it’s about having the best moment in the tournament.
“In the two games that I was not there, our team needed a better defender in my position, I’m good as a striker – that’s the plan we put in place here to know how the team plays and what will be required. player.
“I’m here to serve the team. If I have to play the drums, I’ll be the best drummer in the world.”
“I know what I can do for the team and I know there are other players at a better time than me for what is required. I know I can provide, I know what I can deliver.”
“Trust is something you don’t ask for, it’s something you earn. I earned trust.”
Tite believes Alves is setting an example for the younger players in his squad.
“We represent people with a lot of love, a lot of pride, passion and dedication,” said Tite.
“Dani is an example of that. He does everything with quality. I have a lot of respect for those who got to where he is. He is much more than football, much more than a player on the field.”
Two of the younger players Tite will be hoping want to emulate Alves are wingers Gabriel Martinelli and Antony, with both likely to start against Cameroon.
Both players featured in the Sao Paulo Youth Cup just three years ago and Alves believes their success is proof that hard work pays off.
“A few years ago they played a smaller tournament and now they are in the World Cup,” Alves said. “It shows their dedication and shows how we need to mature quickly. They deserve to be here, this is their reward.”
“We win when everyone plays at the same level, on and off the field. I think this is the most balanced team we’ve ever had.”
Brazil will be without the injured Neymar and Danilo against Cameroon, although both have advanced to pool duty.
Should the Selecao win Group G, they will face the runners-up of Group H on Monday 16