Dani Alves has for the longest time been considered one of the (if not the) best right-backs in the modern era. The Barcelona man has been a part of the Catalans’ most successful squads under Pep Guardiola and is also the most decorated footballer in history with a whopping 42 titles to his name.
Even at the age of 38, the Brazilian has proved that he can continue to play in the energy-sapping position in top-flight Europe as he chose to return to his former club in 2021.
Since Alves left Barca in 2016, the Spanish club have tried to replace him with a flurry of players such as Moussa Wague, Oscar Mingueza, Nelson Semedo, Sergi Roberto and Sergino Dest. But none of them have been able to match the quality and impact brought in by Alves, who is now competing with Dest and Mingueza for the right-back spot having come back to the club.
Alves in his prime brought much dynamism, energy and technique to the position, proving to be a major force in both attack and defence for Barca. His experience and knowledge from playing at right-back seem to have been retained well as the Brazilian has picked out his best choices as the current best RBs in the world.
Alves named Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Chelsea’s Reece James and Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi as his top picks and fans have appreciated the Brazilian for picking out the right names to be his successor as the best right-back at the moment.
“I admire Trent Alexander-Arnold very much…he’s a fantastic footballer – this guy has got world-class skills. I also like to watch Reece James and Achraf Hakimi. They mix strength with technique and are also great players. The three of them obviously have different characteristics and styles, but they all know how to do the job,” remarked the Brazilian in his interview with FourFourTwo.
All three of Alves’s choices are players who play in high pressing systems that require constant movement up and down the flank.
With modern football’s frequent involvement of fullbacks in attack, the trio have followed suit in Alves’s footsteps to be impactful in counter-attacks and build-up plays and have also got on the scoresheet on a number of occasions this season.
TAA leads the Premier League assists chart with 11 assists while Reece James has 6 assists to his name this season. Achraf Hakimi while having played fewer games than the English duo has 4 assists to his name in Ligue 1.
The three right-backs are still young talents in the game and have already received high praise from the likes of Alves who have an eye for the right kind of talent.
With his departure once again looming for the club, Barca would be hoping to rely on Alves himself to scout for his replacement in right-back and surely some of these names would be on their transfer shortlists.