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Juventus defender Dani Alves has said he “can never return to Barcelona” because of people on the club board’s “ego,” per Ramiro Aldunate for Marca.
Alves was speaking ahead of his side’s Champions League quarter-final second-leg tie against his former club. Juventus won the first leg 3-0 at the Juventus Stadium, and now Alves is set to make his first appearance back at the Camp Nou since leaving in June 2016.
“Their egos are huge,” he said, when asked why he could not return to Barcelona, per Aldunate. “Everything was very beautiful here but in order to come back, Barcelona would have to rectify a lot of things their ego won’t allow.”
The 33-year-old spent eight years at Barcelona between 2008 and 2016, winning six La Ligas and three Champions League titles.
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Alves’ decision to leave the Camp Nou came as a surprise towards the end of the 2015-16 campaign, and the Brazlian initially explained his decision by saying he thinks “people need to leave their comfort zone,” per Ed Malyon for the Mirror.
However, his comments this week reiterate that Alves left Barcelona on bad terms with the club hierarchy, a fact that came to light in February.
“During my last three seasons I always heard that Alves was leaving, but the directors never said anything to my face,” he told Spanish newspaper ABC (via Charlotte Marsh for Sky Sports) in February. “They were very false and ungrateful.”
In the run up to Juve’s game on Wednesday evening, Alves also spoke about the news channels he used at the time of departure, and his hopes of a better ending for his team-mates.
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“I preferred to use the Madrid press because they wouldn’t manipulate things,” Alves said, per Aldunate. “For the good of football, I hope Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta don’t leave in the same circumstances I did, but I don’t want to get into that.”
However, Iniesta could indeed be set for a similar ending after he declined to comment on his future on Tuesday, per Goal. The Spaniard’s current contract expires in 2018.
“At the end of the season I will weigh up a lot of things and we will see,” he told reporters. “My hopes and wishes have not changed, but this is not the best time to be talking about it.”
With Alves enjoying life in Turin while Barcelona continue to look defensively vulnerable at right-back, Barca fans will be hoping Iniesta’s career at the Camp Nou does not end in the same way as Alves’.