Barcelona defender Dani Alves is one of the greatest characters in all of world soccer. He’s crazy in a way that doesn’t make him surly (people hate that for some reason) or self-centered (they like that even less). He’s out there having the time of his life playing for one of the best teams in the world. He goes through his public life with full acknowledgement that he’s “living the dream”.
The teddy bear sneaker champ has really been enjoying himself during this international break. He didn’t feature in Brazil’s much-discussed squad for their latest round of friendlies, so he had some valuable free time.
Last week, he co-starred in “Eres Especial,” a new music video with artist Mario Baro and former Barça goalkeeper José Manuel Pinto. The remnants of my high school Spanish class tell me that the song is an uplifting tune, encouraging people to be their true, special selves. I could be dead wrong about this, and the song may really be about someone finding out a baby isn’t their, but I prefer to be optimistic. And the song was actually for charity. Allegedly.
This weekend, with nothing better to do, Alves took to the streets to serve the people. Alves seems to be a good enough guy, so I won’t hold it against him that he was putting what looked like the most ungodly substance on the planet (mayonnaise) on people’s food. There’s no way anyone ordered mayo on their hot dog.
To cap off his outstanding week, the soon to be out-of-contract Alves dodged questions from reporters about rumors that leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain, doing so with an off-key serenade of whatever was playing on his headphones. The question is, which is funnier: Alves singing his way through an airport, or Barcelona not paying him whatever he wants when it can’t replace him due to its transfer ban.
Regardless, international breaks are horrific, but one man has made the best of the latest black hole in the European soccer calendar. Alves might even be better at being unemployed for a week than he is and defending the goal for Barça. Now he’s got serious options if his contract negotiations to stay at Camp Nou don’t work out: a music career (charity-only, so no one will clown him for not actually being good), questionable fast food serviceman, or something conventional, like becoming the new right back for PSG. Whatever he choses, Dani Alves wins.