Dani Alves has admitted he left Juventus in the summer because he was not enjoying his football in Italy, where he feels he was misunderstood.
Speaking after being named in the Italian Professional Footballers’ Association (AIC) Team of the Season, the Paris Saint-Germain defender said he struggled to settle at Juve after joining from Barcelona in 2016 because he felt unable to help lift the standards of the game in the country.
“I’ve spoken about it with my teammates — I joined Juventus also to prove to Italian football that it could improve and raise its level,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “I just wasn’t understood. I wanted to do something more, but I felt that it wasn’t easy for me.
“I wasn’t happy like I was used to being and this cost me a lot of effort. This is why I chose not to continue.”
Alves was reportedly set to join Manchester City in the summer before PSG came in for him and he is delighted he moved to the French capital.
“I’m happy because I feel I have the freedom to play and enjoy myself here,” he said. “I just hope that Juve and Italian football realise that things need to change there, because football in the rest of the world already has changed.
“The level of Italian football has dropped and the Italian sides who did so well in Europe don’t exist anymore. Italian football needs to take a leaf out of Napoli’s book as they play real Calcio. This is what Italian football needs.”
Alves won the Serie A and Coppa Italia Double with Juve last season, scoring the opening goal in the 2-0 cup final win over Lazio.
He also played in the Champions League final, which Juve lost 4-1 to Real Madrid, and is a candidate for a berth on UEFA.com’s Team of the Year, having earned his place on the Serie A equivalent.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.