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08.01.2009 13:25

Connection working down the right

Jesús Carrillo

The connection between Dani Alves and Leo Messi means Barça have a means at their disposal that very few other teams can match. That was clear enough on Tuesday night at the Calderón.

Before he came to Barça, it was in the Sevilla white that Dani Alves found out the hard way just what a tricky opponent Messi can be when he moves down the wing. But now they are in the same side, and enjoying the utmost confidence of manager Guardiola (Alves has played more minutes than anybody, and Messi is seventh), they are producing some of the finest examples of Barça’s trademark attacking style.

Goal, penalty and sending off

atmadrid_barca027.jpgAgainst Atlético de Madrid, Messi’s ‘hat-trick’ was the highlight of a great all-round performance by Barça, where things worked especially well down the right where Alves and Messi have developed such a good understanding. The two players combined to create the first goal of the night, including a delightful back heel by the Brazilian.

The play that led to the penalty and the second goal also involved the duo. Alves crossed from the right, and Messi was brought down by Dutchman Heitinga, who was sent off for doing so.

Basel and Lisbon

basel-fcb_x3x.jpgAt Saint Jakob Park and the José Alvalade we also witnessed some fine combinations involving the two South Americans. In Switzerland, Alves provided the assist for Messi to head home past Basel keeper Constanzo.

Two games later, Alves took a free kick after one of the Portuguese players had handled the ball. The Lions were still protesting the decision when Alves and Messi took the kick quickly to score the fourth of the night for their side.
Connection working down the right
Huge recognition
The sports pages around the world have been praising the amazing football being generated by the pair, all forming part of the impressively offensive style employed by Josep Guardiola.

Some articles have called it a blend of tango and samba. Other claim it to the best right wing in the world. The Brazilian is getting plenty of credit for what the team is achieving, but it has also been noted that not only is he a devastating striker, but Messi also regularly cuts back to add defensive support to his Brazilian colleague.

All in all, what we have is the kind of luxury that Barça fans can do nothing but feel proud of. This season, among their many achievements, Barça have produced no fewer than thirteen goals down the right.

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