Having had a hand in all four of Juventus's semi-final goals against Monaco, Dani Alves is focusing on taking the big prize in Cardiff, telling UEFA.com: "Winning this final would just be fantastic."
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"Now we have to bring the cup home," Dani Alves told UEFA.com after helping Juventus beat Monaco 2-1 on Tuesday with another assist and a goal as the Bianconeri qualified for the UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff with a 4-1 aggregate win.
Alves had twice set up Gonzalo Higuaín to score in the semi-final first leg as Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri fielded Andrea Barzagli as one of three centre-backs to give the former Barcelona man more freedom to attack. The trick worked again in Turin as the Brazilian international's cross invited Mario Mandžukić to break the deadlock before he himself struck with a stunning volley.
"I'm proud of what we did together, me and my team-mates," he said. "To play in another final of such a massive competition is great for everybody. I don't score often so every goal is pretty special for me. I'm happy because it helped the team win and reach the final. We still haven't achieved anything – now we have to bring the cup home."
José Mourinho famously allowed Samuel Eto'o – a two-time UEFA Champions League winner with Barcelona – to deliver the team talk ahead of Internazionale Milano's 2010 final success against Bayern München, introducing him with the words: "Now Samuel will tell us how we're going to win." If Bianconeri boss Allegri wants to try the same trick in Cardiff, Alves will be his go-to guy.
The right-back lifted the trophy three times with Barça, whereas Juve are targeting their third triumph in the competition – and a first since 1996 – having lost six out of eight European Cup/UEFA Champions League finals to date, including against Alves's Blaugrana two years ago.
"The past is the past, we have to think about the present," the 34-year-old said, drawing a line under those days. "We have a final to play. It doesn't matter what happened in the past, it only matters what we can achieve with this team now. We have more confidence [than Juve's runners-up of 2015] and we will go there to win.
"We have been working hard for this, we have been working well," he continued. "Our objective is getting closer and closer, and we have to make one last effort to finish the job, because we have achieved nothing yet. We can't just throw away everything we have done so far. It will be tough, but winning this final would just be fantastic – special."
He may have landed the trophy three times in the last eight years, but as his performances against Monaco showed, that desire to be the best never fades.