In collaboration with SikSilk
In a whirlwind 24 hours, we jetted off to France to meet Brazilian full-back and football’s most colorful character Dani Alves in a luxury hotel in the French capital.
The outspoken and ambitious star, 36, has won everything there is to win in spells with Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus and PSG.
As Bahia-born Alves prepares to embark on a new chapter we sat down with the eccentric player to talk about his ‘crazy’ persona, loud fashion sense and his admiration for ‘genius’ Pep Guardiola.
Your trophy tally in your career to date is utterly obscene and now you’re the most successful player in history. How does that make you feel?
“The trophies are only a consequence of everything that I do. I always tell my friends that without the focus, the discipline and the hard work, I would not get that. I’m lucky that I had a good foundation in life. My role model was my dad and I’m lucky I got the education that I did. It made me focus on my objectives. The trophies are just the consequences of what I did and worked so hard to get.”
You mention your father there, and we hear he had a huge influence on your career and even steering you into becoming a defender. What can you tell us about your relationship?
“My father is a superhero to me. He didn’t give me any theory-based lessons – it was always practical exercises. He was always showing me what to do, how to behave. He made me understand the importance of hard work. We were never rich or anything like that, but we never went hungry. My dad worked hard so we could have everything that we needed. I left home young knowing that I would use those superhero lessons to give back to my family what they had given to me as a youngster.”
When you do finally decide to call time on your playing days, what do you think will feel like you’re the biggest achievement in your career?
“To become what I have become in football, a professional footballer. Not a lot of people can do it or even get to this level with consistent performances and trophies. I have also been able to live my father’s dream. He desperately wanted to be a footballer but didn’t make it.”
You have made no secret of your admiration for Pep Guardiola. What can you tell us about him?
“It’s easy for me to talk about Pep Guardiola because I think he is a genius. Everything he does is perfect for you. He is a big inspiration for me because he lives football, he eats football, he dreams football… he is obsessed. He has the answer every time that you have a question. He is the best coach I have played with and I have never seen anyone like Guardiola. It’s unbelievable.”
You’ve played in Spain, Italy and France. Are you tempted to angle a move to the Premier League at some point in your career?
“The English Premier League is one that I love; it has a lot of history. Maybe, one day I’ll play there. I think Guardiola is like me, he loves the challenge. Staying within your comfort zone is not for me and I think he feels that way too. I don’t want comfort. I need challenge. I don’t have any fear. I have four or five years left to play so maybe one day I will try playing in England. I think it’s the most attractive league in the world even compared to Spain, but there are no regrets, I have played in all the best clubs so far.”
You’re often linked with transfer deals and there’s no shortage of interest from big name clubs chasing your signature. What has this been like?
“When I was in Sevilla, I had the opportunity to go to Real Madrid, to Liverpool or to Chelsea. But Barcelona was my destiny. All the other clubs were paying more than Barcelona but it was about more than this. I have been a part of the best years in that football club and I was lucky to be there at the time. Barcelona for me is the best city in Europe. Everything I wanted, Barcelona gave to me.”
You are known for an outgoing, lively, colourful and some times controversial personality. Do you enjoy sharing this side of you on social media with your fans?
” I try to give good things to the people. People’s life can be boring. People think they need to post stuff all the time on social media. I try to give natural things to the people, to give them energy. I have better than a dream life. People can do anything they want, but don’t lose time on Instagram. Instagram is about giving to the people, not about myself. When I rest, I think that I used to be poor and now I’m here. Living in Paris is a dream. My profession took me here. You have to give something to the people they can believe in and reach.”
You’ve talked about being a ‘good kinda crazy’. What do you mean?
“Whenever I start doing something different, people start saying this guy is crazy. There is a Brazilian singer who says ‘good crazy’ (Maluco Beleza). I’m crazy yeah but I’m nice crazy. What do makes people happy and I hope to inspire them. Bad crazy is dangerous but if you are good crazy, no. You give good things to the people. My life is a good crazy life. A lot of people can’t run or walk, and I can so… that’s why I’m happy. Every day I think of the struggles that were in my past. I did not have good food or good clothes. Things have come a long way since then.”
You’re all over billboards, newspapers and social media. For those fans who think they know you, what would you say?
“I am a good businessman, and not just all about playing football. There are a lot of things outside of football that I am interested in. People get to know me because I show them who I am. My social media channels allow me to show who I am. It’s all real. My life is an open book. People know a lot about me. No fake things, I am a real person. This is who I am.”
What are your business interests outside of football?
“I have a cosmetic company, a company for commodities and a music production company with a studio in Brazil. My brother is a singer. His whole life is first about football and then about music. Me, I am the opposite. I think music is my first love and football is my second. After football, I will go into a career in music. I love music. I am a bit in the clouds sometimes when I go into the studio.”
Tell us about your wild fashion sense?
“When I did not have money, doing things like the other people was boring. I needed to be something different. It forced me to be different. People said I was crazy. I don’t care. I drive my life. I love black and white, but not just black and white. I like powerful colours. I asked my designer friend what his favourite colour was he said white because he can ‘draw’ in white. I think my life is white and I can draw in it. Classic is okay but my style is fun. I like a combination of colours. I remember once that I went to the market in Bahia and I bought unusual things there with bright colours. I don’t want to do something that all the other people do, I want to do something different.”
Where do you get your inspiration from for your bold looks?
“My inspiration comes from other girls. When I see girls in the street I don’t look at the girl herself, I look at the combination of colours that she is wearing and the look she has created. They are more fashionable. I take inspiration from them and create an outfit of my own based on what I’ve seen.”
You tied the knot with model Joana Sanz in a secret Ibiza wedding in 2017. What can you tell us about her?
“Joanna is the female version of me. We have a good chemistry and we like the same things. Finding her was my gift from life. It makes my life easy. It makes you understand what is real and fake. She is the best part of my life. We love to go traveling on crazy trips together and have fun. It’s very difficult to find someone like this. We wake up and go to bed with the same smile. She makes my life easy. I love her for sure.”
I like the magazine because it takes the readers to the other side of the game. It’s not just about football; it’s about the lifestyle we have. It includes all the things that we love. When I am with my team mates we don’t always talk about football. We have different hobbies. This shows the people more about the other parts of player’s lives and interests, and this is amazing. When I saw the magazine, I said I wanted to show people that part of me. I said I want to be on page number one. You create what you want in this world. Some people love football and others don’t. Same are more for fashion or art. This magazine tells their stories and I love very much.