Olympics-Soccer-Brazil's evergreen Alves savours golden dream
Newsfrom JapanTokyo 2020
By Simon Evans
YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Brazil captain Dani Alves said his dream had come true after winning an Olympic gold medal at the age of 38 with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Spain in Saturday's final.
Alves opted to play as an over-aged player in the Under-24 competition and had to battle through extra-time in the semi-final and final before getting a gold medal placed around his neck.
"This means a lot for me. Everybody trusted in me, and I knew this would be a once-only opportunity, to be able to enjoy this dream," said the former Barcelona defender.
"It’s not every day that you become an Olympic athlete, and even less at the age of 38. And so I came here like everybody else, as a virgin, to this competition.
"I came with the boys to live the dream with them. And we have managed it, after a lot of effort and sacrifice, and we are taking the biggest prize back home, back to our people," he added.
Alves has won everywhere he has played -- six Spanish league titles and three Champions League wins with Barca, a Serie A title with Juventus and the French league twice with Paris St Germain.
But, having been unable to win a World Cup with his country, he said his success in Japan meant more than the club honours.
"To be sincere, yes. Because the others are every year, and I have competed time and time again, but with this medal, this is my last chance. I won’t make it to Paris," he said, referring to the next Games in 2024.
Alves, who now plays back in Brazil with Sao Paulo, said he has no intention of hanging up his boots yet.
"I have the drive of a 23-year-old," he said. "I still want to do big things in football, and have respect for the profession, because when you have respect for your profession, it brings you great things, and which is what I’m living."
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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