Brazil national team manager Tite socked the nation after naming 39 years old and former Barcelona FC right-back Dani Alves into Brazil’s 2022 FIFA World Cup squad.

Many assumed the 39 years was selected for his experience and leadership qualities but Tite explained Alves holds the same standard as everyone else in the Brazil squad.

“Dani Alves’ criteria is the same as everyone else’s,” Tite said during the reveal of the Brazil World Cup roster on November 7. “It rewards individual technical quality. It rewards the physical aspect, and he brings the mental aspect. Just like the others.”

Tite continued, saying that there are fewer attacking responsibilities for full-backs in the Brazil squad due to the exceptional attacking talent in front of them on the wing.

“People have to understand that the full-backs in the Brazilian team play with wingers, there’s no full-back that will work offensively, you’ll have to work as a constructor,” Tite said. “The technical quality that Dani Alves lends in this regard is impressive The technical quality he has is that of an articulator, an organizer — not a player running 60 and 70 meters back and forth. He has the ability to organize.”

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Tite’s words didn’t convince many based on the fact that Alves is known for his offensive play. He has also been a defensive liability in his most recent stint with Barcelona, and with Pumas, he has also struggled to keep opposing players in front of him.

Alves’ inclusion comes despite having played just 12 games for Mexican club Pumas this season and the fact he is just six months shy of his 40th birthday.

The right-back has been training with his former club Barcelona since the end of the Liga MX regular season in early October.

The right-back has been training with his former club Barcelona since the end of the Liga MX regular season in early October.

“Dani didn’t make the September call-up due to physical problems,” said Fábio Mahseredjian. “He was low on power and strength, we told him that. He told me, Mission accepted and accomplished.

“We went to follow training sessions in Barcelona, we observed two days of training and he showed great evolution when it comes to power and strength … Today’s Daniel Alves who is training with the Barcelona B team since October 12 is the same Dani Alves who came with us in 2022 and the same Dani Alves at the 2021 Olympics. In this physical aspect, he is fit.”

Dani Alves has been capped 119 times since his international debut in 2006. He went to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups but missed the 2018 tournament in Russia because of a knee injury.

Brazil have been drawn in the same group as Serbia, Switzerland, and Cameroon for the World Cup, to be played from November 20 to December 18.

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