Alves: Barca beast was born THAT night at the Bridge
Published 22:30 04/04/12 By Oliver Holt in Barcelona
Daniel Alves was looking dapper and feeling fine. A smile was fixed to his lips.
He had spent most of Barcelona’s triumphant quarter-final against AC Milan giving his usual impression of a right-back playing right wing.
Now, as he looked forward to a fifth successive Champions League semi-final for Barcelona, his mind also drifted back to the place where it all began.
In his thoughts, the foundation for the astonishing success story of Barcelona under the visionary leadership of Pep Guardiola was laid at Stamford Bridge.
And the smile on Alves’ face spread as he recalled the stoppage-time strike by Andres Iniesta that sneaked Barcelona past Chelsea in May 2009 and into the final in Rome.
“It’s inevitable that I remember that moment with a great deal of importance,” said Alves. “This memory will never be erased. It’s the goal that led us to the final and thanks to that goal we went all the way and won this title.
“This goal gave us confidence and faith in what we were doing. And it formed the basis of our success in our quest to win trophies.
“This was not the moment of our greatest euphoria though. That feeling only comes when you win a trophies and titles, when you lift cups.
“But I do remember that at that moment we were all ecstatic. There was enormous joy.
“Thanks to that goal we went to win that competition and we won so many titles since then.”
Iniesta’s goal sent Barcelona and Chelsea in different directions.
Until last night, Chelsea had not reached the last four of the competition again.
Barcelona, meanwhile, beat United in the 2009 final and beat them again in the final last year.
They are now generally regarded not just as the best team in the world but the best club side of their generation.
“We are not invincible,” Alves said, “but when we are at our level, it’s extremely difficult to beat us.
“We want to win this competition again and defend our title but we know it’s difficult to achieve it.
“This is not pressure. We have ambition to retain our title knowing that each year it’s more difficult and more complicated.
“But, faced with difficulties, Barcelona always responds as the great team that we are.
“What we want and what we strive for is to make our fans happy for the way we play, for the way we compete, for the love we have for the game and what we put on the pitch every day.”