Dani Alves: "Barça loved facing Arsenal in the Champions League – we had control over them"

Dani Alves has told FourFourTwo that Arsenal brought the best out of Barcelona – and says their all-conquering team of 2011 are rightfully considered the greatest of all time

Arsenal were eliminated from Europe's premier club competition by the Catalan giants in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons, before lightning struck thrice in 2015/16.

Lionel Messi hit a total of seven goals across those three encounters at the Camp Nou, including a famous foursome in April 2010, and Alves believes Barça were able to dominate those games against the north Londoners because of a shared philosophy.

We definitely liked to face Arsenal. They had a similar football style to ours, and this sometimes helped to facilitate our way of playing. They were a team we dominated and had control over. Every time we faced Arsenal, we would have a good result or good performance

Asked which English club he liked playing against the least in the December 2017 issue of FFT, he reveals: “Well, we definitely liked to face Arsenal.

“They had a similar football style to ours, and this sometimes helped to facilitate our way of playing.

“We were drawn against them several times with a positive outcome. They were a team we dominated and had a control over. Every time we faced Arsenal, we’d have a good result or good performance.”

Alves also enjoyed meeting Manchester United in the same period – Barcelona beat the Red Devils in both the 2009 and 2011 showpieces in Rome and London respectively.

We represented the definition of a collective game. We ate, drank and breathed football, and so moments like us winning the Champions League were the rewards for all our efforts

And the 34-year-old, who joined PSG in the summer, believes the Barça team that won 3-1 at Wembley is rightfully regarded one of the greatest of all time.

“Talking to several football experts, they haven’t seen another team as incredible as that Barcelona,” the Brazilian explains. “These are people who’ve been following the game for a long time and they say they’ve never seen such a thing. We represented the definition of a collective game. We ate, drank and breathed football, so moments like winning the Champions League were rewards for all our efforts.”

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Read the full interview with Dani Alves in the December 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine – a strikers special which features interviews with Gabriel Jesus and Alvaro Morata, and counts down the 30 greatest Premier League forwards ever. Also this month, we meet the father and son working wonders at Harrogate Town, find out if 3G pitches are the future of the Football League, and hear about the turmoil Tony Adams went through before, during and after Euro 96. Order a copy now, and then become a subscriber!