No male professional player has ever lifted as many senior trophies for club and country as the Brazil international, who has stockpiled a phenomenal collection of silverware with 44 winners’ medals to his name since earning his first in 2001.
Alves, 39, is also one of the game’s most flamboyant dressers and mischievous characters, although sadly there are no official record books for such things.
Even without counting the two triumphs in the Copa Catalunya and one in the Supercopa de Catalunya that he enjoyed at Barca (which aren’t regarded as official competitions), or the 2003 FIFA Under-20 World Cup or even the Olympic gold medal he won for Brazil (neither are senior tournaments), Alves is still the most decorated man ever to play the game.
It’s worth taking a moment to look at that trophy haul in full, to really drink it in:
Campeonato Baiano: 2001
Copa do Nordeste: 2001, 2002
Copa del Rey: 2006-07
Supercopa de Espana: 2007
UEFA Cup: 2005-06, 2006-07
UEFA Super Cup: 2006
Barcelona (2008-16 and 2021-22)
La Liga: 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2014-15, 2015-16
Copa del Rey: 2008-09, 2011-12, 2014-15, 2015-16
Supercopa de Espana: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
UEFA Champions League: 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15
UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011, 2015
FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011, 2015
Serie A: 2016-17
Coppa Italia: 2016-17
Paris Saint-Germain (2017-19)
Ligue 1: 2017-18, 2018-19
Coupe de France: 2017-18
Coupe de la Ligue: 2017-18
Trophee des Champions: 2017, 2018
Sao Paulo (2019-21)
Campeonato Paulista: 2021
Copa America: 2007, 2019
FIFA Confederations Cup: 2009, 2013
Alves gave no confirmation about where his future lies in the Instagram post confirming he would be leaving Barca for a second time, although he hinted that he isn’t done yet with the sign-off: “May the world never forget: EVEN A LION THAT IS 39 YEARS OLD CONTINUES TO BE A GOOD CRAZY LIONNN.”
Just because Alves has spent more than half his life as a professional footballer doesn’t mean he is ready to hang up his boots just yet. He remains the captain of the Brazil national team, and led them to victory in the gold medal match at the Tokyo Olympics last year, having only missed the Copa America earlier that summer through injury.
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup only five months away, Alves started both of Brazil’s postseason friendlies earlier this month, playing for the whole of the 5-1 win over South Korea before completing 70 minutes of the 1-0 victory against Japan.
Brazil are the current favourites with Caesar’s Sportbook to win in Qatar and claim a record-extending sixth World Cup, which would also see Alves etch his name even more firmly into history. All he needs now is a new club to play for for the next few months.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report