Dani Alves described the heart-breaking moment that his “soul went out of [his] body” as he injured his knee to crush his dreams of playing at the World Cup this summer with Brazil.
The Paris Saint-Germain full-back limped out of a Coupe de France final victory over Les Herbiers and knew immediately that he would play no part for his country in Russia this summer.
Original reports suggested that the 35-year-old may be out for around three weeks, but ligament damage has left him facing much longer on the sidelines .
Alves admits to allowing himself a brief moment of anguish after discovering his fate, but concedes that he has enjoyed the most remarkable of careers and cannot have too many complaints at missing out on one major international tournament.
The former Barcelona and Juventus defender told The Players’ Tribune: “When I felt the pain in my knee, my soul went out of my body. I knew from the moment that I hit the ground that I was not going to be on the plane to Russia for the World Cup.
“In the changing room, the PSG doctors told me that we would have to wait until the next day to get the results of some tests, but I knew in my heart that it was over.
“Everyone came in celebrating with the Coupe de France trophy, and I never want to show any negative emotion around my teammates — if you know Dani Alves then you know I’m always one happy motherfucker — so I was smiling and trying to have fun. But everybody could see in my eyes that something was wrong.
“I only cried one time, when I was by myself. And let me tell you something — I don’t want anybody to cry for me. I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me. I have lived my dreams. Dani Alves is not going to the World Cup, but he is still one happy motherfucker.”
Alves is now readying himself to support Brazil from afar, with it his opinion that a talented squad can go all the way and secure a sixth global crown .
He added: “I believe that this team can win the trophy.
“We have the talent and the superstars, but more importantly, we also have a maestro. Tite has been able to create an incredible ambience since he took over the team, and he’s shown the players that we cannot be soloists. We must be in perfect harmony in order to achieve our dreams.
“I have been with the senior team for 12 years, and this is the strongest our connection has ever been — in organization, in structure, in ideas, in everything. We have a good mix of younger players, like Gabriel Jesus and [Philippe] Coutinho, and also the older players who remember the heartache of the last World Cup and want to make things right.”
And on his future plans, Alves added: “I don’t consider myself a veteran. As you can see, my spirit is about 13 years old.
“Who knows, maybe when the 2022 World Cup comes around, I will still be competing for a place on the team. My body will be 39, but my spirit will have only turned 17.”