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PARIS — When he is not dressing up in an inflatable princess suit to celebrate his birthday, Dani Alves is a serial winner for club and country
Now 35, and playing for Paris Saint-Germain, after spells with Sevilla, Barcelona and Juventus, Tuesday’s Coupe de France title was the 38th European trophy of his senior career, extending his record as the most decorated active player.
Unfortunately for Alves, PSG and Brazil, it came at a cost and a knee injury suffered against Vendee Les Herbiers now threatens his chance to try to help Tite’s men to World Cup glory in Russia this summer.
“Following Daniel Alves’ right knee injury, which occurred during the Coupe de France final, the tests performed since showed a high detachment of the anterior cruciate ligament with posterolateral sprain,” a spokesman for the full-back said in a statement, which has since been confirmed by PSG. “His condition requires a minimum of three weeks of care before surgery is re-evaluated. “
Despite Alves’ club season finishing on such a sour note, it completes a successful debut season with the French capital outfit.
He has now won eight domestic league titles across three different countries — six with Barca between 2008-16, one with Juve in 2017 and another with PSG this year.
This week’s Coupe de France triumph was Alves’ seventh national cup, having won the Copa del Rey five times combined with Sevilla and Barca between 2007-16, the Coppa Italia in 2017 during his sole campaign in Turin and now in his debut term in France.
On top of that, the self-proclaimed “Good Crazy” also helped PSG to another domestic cup — the Coupe de la Ligue — earlier this season, which forms part of a third domestic clean sweep in four years for Les Parisiens.
Dani Alves has won an eye-popping 38 European trophies to date.
Alves has also enjoyed Super Cup success in both Spain and France, with five Spanish Super Cup titles won between 2007-2013 with Sevilla and Barca and a French Super Cup title added with PSG in his competitive debut at the start of this campaign.
The Ligue 1 giants fell short in Europe this term, but their No. 32 has enjoyed plenty of continental success over the years, with 12 of his 38 pieces of silverware arriving during a rich period of his career between 2006-15.
Alves boasts three Champions League title, three FIFA Club World Cup titles and three UEFA Super Cup titles from his Barca spell, as well as two UEFA Cup/Europa Leagues with Sevilla and another UEFA Super Cup.
There is not much that the Brazilian is missing that would make his career complete, in terms of achievements, but the World Cup is a significant absence from such a decorated player’s trophy cabinet.
Alves’ hope was to avenge the pain of 2014’s humiliation on home soil in Russia this summer but his latest injury might have put paid to that and with it, his international career.
Regardless, the Brazilian right-back helped his country to the 2007 Copa America, as well as 2009 and 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup titles, giving him a stunning collection of medals from his various successes with club and country.
Whatever happens over these next few weeks with his World Cup place, Alves’ has been vindicated — in an individual sense — in his decision to join PSG from Juve last summer.
Now the question is whether he can recover in time to join his international teammates in Russia this summer and aid the capture of the so far elusive World Cup?
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.