Brazil defender Alves decides to leave Barcelona

Thu Jun 2, 2016 4:14pm EDT
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By Richard Martin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Brazil right back Dani Alves declared his gratitude to Barcelona after announcing on Thursday that he is to leave the club after eight trophy laden seasons.

The 33-year-old Alves, who won 23 titles in his spell at Barca, is a free agent.

He has not indicated where he plans to go but the player's agent and former wife, Dinorah Santa Ana da Silva, said last week that she had met representatives of Italian champions Juventus as well as several other European clubs.

“I’m leaving but I’ll be back, because I’m a Barcelona fan just like anyone else,” Alves said in a post on Instagram.

“I’m a privileged, hard-working and honorable footballer who’s been lucky enough to wear the shirt of the best club in the world in a wonderful decade, thanks to the quality of its players and coaches.”

Barca's sporting director Robert Fernandez had announced Alves' departure at a news conference earlier on Thursday, saying: "This is a personal decision that the club has to accept."

He said the defender extended his contract for an extra season last year to ensure Barca had cover after they were banned from signing new players by world governing body FIFA for breaching rules on signing non-Spanish under-18 players.

But Fernandez said that even at that stage the question of Alves leaving this year was discussed.   Continued...

Football Soccer - Barcelona v Villanovense - Spanish King's Cup - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - 2/12/15 - Barcelona's Dani Alves (C) and Munir el Haddadi celebrate a goal. REUTERS/Albert Gea