Dani Alves has claimed he had an opportunity to return to Barcelona and Juventus this summer before electing to join Sao Paulo as he deemed them a dream fit.

Alves was available on free transfer this summer after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired in June.

A number of possibilities were mooted for the Brazil international, though he ultimately elected to return to his homeland on a three-year contract.

But it could have been different, Alves said in a video published by the Players’ Tribune, with a sensational return to Camp Nou or the Allianz Stadium among his options.

“I had the chance to go back to Juventus,” Alves said in the video. “I also had the chance to go back to Barca, because I wanted that.

“I don’t decide what I do all of a sudden. I think: ‘What will this club give me? How will this place make me a better person? How will this place make me a better professional?’”

Alves detailed his decision making process throughout the summer, revealing he did not want to think about his choices during the Copa America, during which he starred for hosts Brazil as they claimed the crown.

Instead, he preferred to let his play on the field do the talking for him.

“When I joined the national team, I told my team, ‘I don’t want to know anything about transfers. I am a free agent, but I don’t want to know anything,’” Alves said.

“Why? Because I needed to perform well here. If I did well here, it would open many doors. People would see my quality, my dedication and my achievements. After that, my mindset was: I want to know what my possibilities are right now. And there were a few.

“But, for example, none of them were something I wanted, except the team of my dreams.”

Dani Alves Sao Paulo

Alves, 36, was adamant an important part of his decision was which club would allow him to fight for a place in Brazil’s squad in the 2022 World Cup, with many of his suitors not willing to give him that long-term security.

“What I wanted, the key point for me, was having the stability to fight for the 2022 World Cup,” Alves added. “ It was the starting point for my next challenge.

“Most of the clubs didn’t offer me that, because they didn’t believe in me. Because they think I have an expiration date.

“And I’ve said it since I began my career: I’m free. I decide when I start. I decide when I finish.”

When Alves went through his options, he saw Sao Paulo was the choice for him.

Alves added: “I started to put a lot of factors together. I thought about the transition period they are going through, the facilities Sao Paulo have, the possibilities as a club, their history… all of that together built a strong and unique link amongst the possibilities I had.

“So I thought it was time to make a decision.”


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