New Juventus signing Dani Alves has revealed he will wear the number ’23’ shirt at his new club, in tribute to Cleveland Cavaliers and NBA legend LeBron James.
Alves was announced by the Italian giants on Monday, and the Brazilian full-back has a history of choosing his shirt numbers as a mark of respect towards his peers.
During the 2015-16 season, he wore the number ‘6’ shirt in tribute to former teammate Xavi, which was also the number NBA legend James wore during his time with basketball outfit Miami Heat.
James recently helped the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA championship, and Alves admires the way the basketball star has proven his ability in a different environment, reinventing himself during the process.
“LeBron James is someone I admire for the way he constantly reinvents himself and never rests on his laurels, always aiming for new challenges and triumphs”, Alves declared.
“After leaving Miami, where he was enjoying a good career, he’s come back with a bang and reinvented himself”.
Alves, 33, moved to Barcelona in 2008 from Spanish rivals Sevilla and has been a mainstay during an incredibly successful part of the Catalan giants recent history, winning the La Liga title six times, the Copa del Rey on four occasions, and the Champions League three times.
And it’s Europe’s biggest prize that Alves has set his sights on after signing for Juventus.
‘The Old Lady’ last won the competition back in the 1995-96, and most recently reached the final of the competition during the 2014-15 season, being beaten by Alves’ Barcelona 3-1, with goals from Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez and Neymar overcoming a solitary Alvaro Morata strike.
“The club’s dream is to win the Champions League, and I hope to help them achieve this. I can’t say exactly what Juventus require to win the Champions League. That’s something I’ll begin to work out from now onwards.
“We need to believe we can win the Champions League if we are to do so. My teammates and I will give it our best shot.”
While Alves will certainly continue to be admired and respected by Barcelona fans, a move to Italy and the chance to experience a new league and culture was too good to turn down.
“It’s an honour to be here. Juve have a great dream, and I want to make it a reality,” he enthused.
“The club’s history fascinates me. I also wanted a new experience, in a new country. Juventus is a club full of interesting challenges and goals. There’s a unique opportunity to go down in history here.”
Alves made 391 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona, scoring 21 goals.