LUSAIL, Qatar ( Associated Press) — Dani Alves’ erratic performance in his four-month stint with Mexican soccer has put Brazil’s inclusion on Brazil’s World Cup roster in Qatar in doubt.
But coach Tite included him in his squad and on Friday the right-back became the oldest Brazilian player to play in a World Cup match against Cameroon in Group H.
Prior to Alves, the oldest Brazilian central defender at the World Cup was Thiago Silva, who serves as the team’s captain in Qatar at the age of 38.
But reaching his goal was not easy for Alves, who played in six different positions in his first tournament in Mexico with Pumas UNN. He arrived from Barcelona fully prepared for the World Cup.
Brazil sent emissaries to Mexico who reported the player’s poor physical condition. The Pumas have been out of the league for the title since 30 September.
Alves had to leave Mexico and go to training facilities in Barcelona where he continued to do physical labor.
For Alves, the most successful player in history, Qatar means the end of his World Cup career. He still has six months on his contract with the Pumas, who have been sending him messages on social networks from Mexico.
Alves first played for Brazil in 2006 and is participating in his third World Cup. His last tournament appearance was in the round of 16 in 2014. He was injured before the tournament in Russia.
Alves captained against Cameroon in what was his 126th appearance for Brazil.
At the World Cup in Qatar, the oldest player was the 40-year-old goalkeeper for the Mexican team, Alfredo Talavera, who did not participate in any matches.