Dani Alves is grateful that he will have the opportunity to say a final farewell to Barcelona fans at Camp Nou in one of his first games as a Pumas UNAM player.
The veteran full-back left Barcelona at the end of last season following the expiration of a short-term deal signed when returning to the club for a second spell in January.
Brazil international Alves started 14 LaLiga games for Xavi’s side in the second half of last season, but the club decided against extending his contract for another year.
He will now continue his prestigious career in Mexico with Pumas, who confirmed the 39-year-old’s arrival on Saturday after days of teasing the high-profile signing.
And in a coincidental twist, Alves is now expected to be part of the Pumas squad that takes on Barca for the Joan Gamper Trophy on August 7.
Barca were originally scheduled to face Roma, but Jose Mourinho’s side pulled out and Pumas took up the invitation to play in the pre-season friendly.
The defender previously suggested he was unhappy with the manner of his Camp Nou exit, but he has now said he can understand Barcelona’s decision.
“In the end, life treats people who treat life well, and this game gives me the right to come and play with Pumas at Camp Nou to say goodbye,” he told TUDN News.
“My contract there ended. I didn’t expect much more as I’d only signed for six months and fulfilled those.
“But now, I will have the opportunity with Pumas to say goodbye to the people as I would have always liked.”
Alves scored one goal and set up four more between his second debut on January 5 and the end of the 2021-22 campaign.
That is a tally bettered only by Ferran Torres (six), Jordi Alba (seven) and Ousmane Dembele (11) among Barca players over that period.
Despite recently turning 39, Alves made clear he wanted to quickly find a new club in order to remain part of Tite’s plans for the 2022 World Cup.
Asked why he opted for Mexico, and Pumas in particular, Alves said: “What attracted me to this club is more than just football.
“I think that in Mexico, you have to try to believe a little more in their football.
“Those who out of ignorance discredit Liga MX, do it wrongly. There are very good goalkeepers, who we have faced at the Olympics.
“When we went to the Club World Cup with Barca, the Mexicans were the only ones who wanted to face us.”