Veteran defender Dani Alves returned to FC Barcelona in the middle of the season, and has brought much needed support to manager and former teammate Xavi Hernandez. However, after having been eligible to play for barely two months, he has been suspended for two matches after being sent off in their La Liga match against defending champions Atletico Madrid.

Alves saw red after a feisty challenge on Yannick Carrasco over the weekend, and according to Sport, the La Liga Committee confirmed the two-match suspension on Wednesday. Referee Gil Manzano needed to review the incident with the help of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), and quickly decided to flash the red card after seeing a replay of the incident.

According to Manzano, he deemed the challenge by Alves to be an act of aggression considering that he "had no chance of winning the ball." It's unfortunate for the Brazilian, who will be missing the Catalan Derby against Espanyol as well as another La Liga match against Valencia.

Meanwhile, he also won't feature in the Blaugrana's Europa League match against Napoli and for the rest of the competition if they advance. This is because Barcelona had to make a choice which among their new signings they would register, and Alves was left off in favour of the club's other new signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Adama Traore and Ferran Torres.

Alves is only contracted to Barcelona until the end of the season, and it seems that he won't be spending much of his time on the pitch. However, he is still a reassuring presence for Xavi in the dressing room. There are still several months left in the season, and Alves will be hoping for more opportunities to help the squad secure a Champions League spot for next season. He will be turning 39 this year, and it will be unlikely for Barcelona to offer a contract extension. Nevertheless, stranger things have happened in the past year, and it remains to be seen if there are more surprises in store.

Meanwhile, Xavi will also be left without his brother and assistant Oscar, who was also sent off and banned for two matches.

dani alves
Dani Alves Getty