Spanish Primera Liga

Alves: Bale would be Barca's left-back

April 17, 2012
By ESPN staff

Barcelona full-back Dani Alves believes Tottenham winger Gareth Bale would immediately become the club's first-choice left-back if he ever made the move to Spain.

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Bale has attracted the interest of Barcelona in the past, after emerging as one of the shining lights of the Premier League following a breaking campaign last season. The Welshman has continued that form into the current year, sparkling on the left-side of midfield for Harry Redknapp's side (and occasionally in a more central role) after initially starting his career as a full-back.

Alves, while admitting he "loves" Bale's current playing style, believes the 22-year-old would revert to his former position if he ever made the switch to Camp Nou.

"In the Brazilian school, the emphasis is on attacking but that doesn't mean I'm not a full-back," Alves told The Guardian. "Take Gareth Bale, a player I love. He's a full-back in the Brazilian mould, he has a similar idea.

"In Europe [Spurs] play him as a winger, but in my team he'd always be a full-back.

"People get scared and play attacking full-backs as wingers. They think they will attack more, but often they attack less and less well. It happened with Roberto Carlos: as a winger, he was less effective, he needs to start his run sooner.

"Bale is more skilful and good as a winger, but at Barcelona he would be a full-back."

Bale would certainly have to adjust his style of play if he were to join the reigning Liga champions, with Alves also giving an insight into the high-tempo defensive gameplan employed by manager Pep Guardiola.

"The most difficult thing about Barcelona is not the way they play but the way of understanding the game," he said. "Tactically, I've improved under Pep, learning to do the simplest thing, which sometimes is the most difficult thing.

"But the key is the way we pressure - and the first person to lead the pressure is our best player, Leo Messi. That's the starting point for an entire philosophy.

"I never thought that a team could pressure like we do: from minute one to minute 95, pressuring the ball and in the opposition's half. Pep's greatest success is convincing players, even great players, to do that."