Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Paul Pogba are expected to grab the headlines after the Saturday 6 June Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus, but the game will also see two of the best full-backs of the past decade – Dani Alves and Patrice Evra – go head to head on the flank, bringing back memories of the 2011 final when the Catalan side demolished Manchester United.
A year ago, both defenders looked like they were on the downswing of their careers, having both experienced a drop in form during the 2013-14 season. However, the pair have undergone Indian summers this year and are set to enjoy a classic battle on Saturday.
32-year-old Brazilian international Alves was offered around to a number of suitors by Barcelona a year ago in a desperate attempt to offload him. This was on the back of two inconsistent seasons and a calamitous World Cup campaign, which saw him lose his spot in the Brazilian national team. However, after Luis Enrique failed to sign Chelsea star Juan Cuadrado, and with no club in Europe willing to meet Alves's high salary demands, he stayed at the Nou Camp, where he is now undergoing a second burst of youth.
Out of contract with the Spanish giants at the end of the campaign, some have accused him of coming back to his best just in time to earn one last lucrative signing fee. Be this as it may, it is hard to argue against the fact that he is once again one of the world's finest right-backs.
Alves has become a pivotal figure for Luis Enrique's side in a campaign that sees them hoping to win the treble, having already bagged La Liga and the Copa del Ray.
Lionel Messi himself has praised Alves over his return to form, and speaking ahead of the Champions League final called him "the best full-back in the world".
"He's a very complete player, the best full-back in the world. It's very hard to find a full-back like Dani with the ability he has and with the attitude that he plays every game," Messi said.
The right-back is not just a key player for Barcelona's back line but also a threat going forward, especially when he goes to partner Messi on the right flank of the attack, surprising opponents and providing assists for team mates.
Alves has grabbed a total of 11 assists this season, helping provide goals in big matches such as the 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in El Clasico, the Champions League clashes with PSG and Bayern Munich, and the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao.
Evra's story is similar. At the age of 34, many thought his decision to leave Old Trafford last summer would see him do little other than serve as a back-up for Kwadwo Asamoah while enjoying a pre-retirement in the picturesque surroundings of Torino.
However, the Ghanaian's injury-hit season saw the former Manchester United left-back become a crucial figure for La Vecchia Signora, as they walked to the Scudetto, won the Coppa Italia and made the Champions League final for the first time since 2003.
The France international has made 33 appearances for the Italians, scoring one goal and providing four assists, adapting well to both the 4-2-3-1 and 5-3-2 formations deployed by Massimiliano Allegri.
However, the challenge to stop arguably the best right flank in Europe right now could see his dream season end with a nightmare if he doesn't get help from his team mates. Evra knows full well what it's like to be ripped apart by Alves and Messi, as the Barcelona duo were in the side that thrashed Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley.
Messi and Alves are not the only players that can create danger at Barcelona, but if Evra can put the shutters on them then the Serie A behemoths will surely have a much better chance at winning the Champions league – and Evra will finally have his revenge for that 2011 defeat.
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