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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 22 May, 2018

Barca confirm Dani Alves' departure as they line up Arsenal's Bellerin as a replacement

‘All we can do is respect his decision,’ says the club’s technical director.

It looks like Dani Alves is heading to Italy.
It looks like Dani Alves is heading to Italy.
Image: John Walton

BARCELONA SPORTING DIRECTOR Robert Fernandez has revealed Dani Alves has decided to leave the club as he closes in on a move to Juventus.

The 33-year-old has been at Camp Nou since 2008 and won six La Liga titles, four Copa del Rey crowns and three Champions Leagues as part of an astonishing 23 winners’ medals.

Juve director Giuseppe Marotta was “very optimistic” on the club’s pursuit of Alves this week and the Brazil international – who is currently preparing for the Copa America – will now leave Barca.

“Dani Alves has decided to leave – it is a personal decision that we respect,” Fernandez said at a press conference.

“We don’t like the fact he’s going. His behaviour on and off the field here has been so exemplary and now he’s decided to go. The decision is his and we will respect that.

Reports in Italy claim Alves has already signed with Juve but it was previously suggested he was considering offers from Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain.

Alves is under contract at the Nou Camp until June 2017 after signing a two-year extension during 2015 at a period where Barcelona were banned from signing new players.

The contract extension also included a get out clause at the end of this season meaning Alves will go as a free agent on a free transfer.

Meanwhile, Javier Mascherano is going nowhere while Fernandez also insisted Neymar’s long-term future is at the Catalan club.

Spain Soccer Copa del Rey Barca are confident Mascherano is staying put. Source: Francisco Seco

Mascherano, 31, was an integral part of Luis Enrique’s La Liga-winning side, making 57 appearances in all competitions, but it’s believed the Argentine is willing to move elsewhere in search of a midfield role.

The former Liverpool player, who is contracted until June 2018, is attracting interest from Juventus, but Fernandez isn’t concerned about the future of Gerard Pique’s central-defensive partner.

Neymar, who joined Barcelona in 2013 from Brazil’s Santos in a deal which has haunted all concerned because of alleged hidden payments, is under contract until 2018.

Speculation has mounted however around whether or not the 24-year-old winger would extend his stay or make another lucrative move.

“Negotiations are underway. I have three years left on my contract, I’m confident we’ll reach an agreement,” said Neymar.

Neymar will not contest the Copa America this month but instead will lead his nation’s medal drive at the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

Arsenal’s Spanish international right-back Hector Bellerin is thought to be Barcelona’s key target to replace Alves.

The 21-year-old was born in Barcelona and spent eight seasons in the Barcelona youth teams before joining the Gunners in 2013.

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Ryan Bailey

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