Daniel Alves is out to help Sevilla FC to the UEFA Champions League group stage at AEK Athens FC's expense on Monday evening and put a turbulent summer behind him.
The Brazilian international helped the Spanish club secure the UEFA Cup and a third-place league finish last term before playing a part in their Copa del Rey triumph. He then shone for Brazil at the Copa América. Unsurprisingly that led to firm interest from some of Europe's leading clubs and when Daniel Alves failed to turn out in the first leg of the decisive UEFA Champions League qualifying tie against AEK on 15 August, a fresh start seemed certain.
However, a large fee was required for the 24-year-old and no one appeared willing to match it. Then, Sevilla's minds were turned elsewhere by the tragic death of homegrown prospect Antonio Puerta. By the time of Friday night's transfer deadline, which coincided with the UEFA Super Cup final against AC Milan in Monaco, Daniel Alves was back alongside his colleagues.
"The fans know they have to get behind him as they would any other Sevilla player," club president José María del Nido said and in the 3-1 defeat by the European champions he appeared committed to the cause. In speaking to uefa.com, Daniel Alves suggested he was content to be part of the Sevilla set-up before the AEK return, although he has a slight knee problem. "We hope that we will go through to the group stage, even if we have a small advantage, there are still 90 minutes to play, and it won't be easy at all. The [Super Cup] was a bit strange, we had a funeral, a difficult week, but life must go on."
He added: "We had a very complicated task, but we showed our professionalism. It was a very tough game, we had to face stong opponents with a lot experience. It is always very complicated to play against teams like that." Sevilla coach Juande Ramos admitted his players had found life difficult against Milan, but emphasised that Daniel Alves had given him no problem – either in training or against the Rossoneri. "He is a professional and has tried to prove that," he said. “Some players did well, some a little below but after such a difficult week this is something you can understand."
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