Dani Alves has been one of the best right-backs in Europe over the past decade. The 36-year-old possesses exceptional dribbling skills, close control and passing abilities that very few full-backs have in their repertoire.
While he has been accused of being suspect defensively, going forward he has more than made up for this. The Brazilian made his name at Barcelona, spending eight years at the club and becoming one of the most decorated players in the history of European football.
While this would be a fitting destination for the 36-year-old to spend the final part of his career, there are many reasons why the move should not take place.
Barcelona currently have Sergi Roberto and Nélson Semedo as their right-back options. Roberto is nominally a midfielder but he became the first-choice right-back at the club following Alves' departure in 2016. Since Semedo's arrival, right-back duties have been shared between the two and on many occasions the pair have been deployed in the same line-up when Roberto is deployed in his orthodox midfield role.
Semedo is 25 and Roberto is 27, and whilst neither has been able to solidify their claim to be the permanent first choice right-back, signing a 36-year-old Alves would likely reduce their game time and subsequently stop them from fulfilling their potential.
Semedo has been linked with a move away from the club due to his displeasure with his game time and signing Alves would only hasten his departure. If this were to happen, Barcelona would ultimately regret letting go of a talented full-back who has his best years ahead of him to accommodate an ageing club legend.
Alves is known for being a flamboyant, outgoing and jovial character who would undoubtedly boost the morale of the Barcelona dressing room following their poor end to the season. La Blaugrana somehow blew a 3-0 first leg lead against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final, losing 4-0 at Anfield and suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final.
While Alves' return would be well-received by the senior members of Barcelona's dressing room, they do not need to sign him to be a cheerleader. Any possible transfer would likely result in Alves commanding higher wages than either Semedo or Roberto and spending this much money on a player who is in the twilight of his career would make little sense.
Barcelona already boast one of the biggest wage bills of any club in Europe and giving Alves one last big pay-day would put a further strain on their finances and hinder their ability to manoeuvre in the transfer market.
Barcelona have dominated domestically in recent years, winning three of the last four La Liga titlesm but have suffered several disappointing Champions League exits.
The line up Barcelona fielded in their Champions League semi-final fixtures against Liverpool had an average age of 30, and this showed in the second leg against a young, vibrant team that had too much energy and vigour for them to handle.
Adding another ageing player like Alves right now would not make sense at a time when the Spanish giants need to change the profile of their squad in order to reclaim the European title.
The Brazil international no longer has the mobility that he once had, and while he showed at PSG that he is able to play in central midfield where his lack of pace is less exposed, Barcelona currently have an abundance of options and quality in this position. La Blaugrana's defensive frailties have been repeatedly exposed in big Champions League away games in recent years - with the match against Liverpool being just one of several poor showings in big games on the road.
In 2018 they carried a 4-1 lead in their Champions League quarter-final against Roma and were understandably strong favourites to progress to the next round. However Barcelona were not prepared for an inspired Roma side, who led on by thunderous home support, overturned the deficit and won 3-0, progressing to the next round through away goals.
Similar showings took place in away fixtures against PSG and Juventus in the 2016/17 season where they lost 4-0 and 3-0 respectively. Adding in another defensive liability like Alves would only weaken the La Liga side's back-line, not strengthen it.
Despite this, it should be remembered that Alves did have a near-telepathic relationship on the right flank with Lionel Messi for many years and up until recently he had provided the Argentine with more assists than another player (42). Barcelona's talisman and captain would surely approve of Alves' return, and the Brazilian could also possibly be used in a mentoring role to Semedo and Roberto, neither of whom are the finished article at right-back.
It would be a romantic idea for Alves to return to the place where he established himself as one of - if not the best - full-backs in the world, but it would be the wrong decision for Barcelona to bring him back. Ultimately, while there is a section of the fanbase and the dressing room that would welcome him with open arms, it wouldn't be a sensible footballing or financial decision.
The performances that Alves delivered year-after-year at the Camp Nou made him a club legend and if he was to go back he risks tarnishing his legacy. The great memories he has at Barcelona should be treasured and the Brazilian can look back at a career full of success that few would have predicted when he signed for the Catalan side in the summer of 2008.