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Assessing the state
of two old rivals

Argentina vs. Brazil Oct 10, 2014
Read
May 29, 2014

Alves in leading role for Brazil

Dani Alves will be competing in his second World Cup for Brazil.
Dani Alves will be competing in his second World Cup for Brazil.

Dani Alves made the news in Brazil and all over the world last April 27. He was playing when he starred in a glorious moment, but it was not a perfect goal, nor a puzzling dribble. Brazilian celebrities, such as Fátima Bernardes, Michel Teló, Aguero and Marta, Xuxa, Inri Cristo and also notable global athletes like Serena Williams, plus many others, posted photos on social media to support the Barcelona player because he ate a banana before a corner kick, which should be normal if the fruit had not been thrown as a new racist act starring in a stadium. It was clear, at least at first, that the attitude of Alves had been spontaneous -- a brave and creative response to the prejudiced. But the incredible number of celebrities who have joined the cause, the creative hashtag -- # somostodosmacacos (we are all monkeys) -- and the stylish t-shirt with the picture of a banana indicated that there was something else. It was then discovered that the Brazilian advertising agency Loducca was already thinking of a response to the next aggression towards a black player. Neymar, who posted the first photo with a banana, next to his son, would be the model, but his mate in Barcelona and the national team ended up stealing the show. "What I did was spontaneous." assures Alves in a conversation with ESPN.com.br. "I was going to take a corner kick when the guy threw the banana. We always say that we may lose some friends not to miss a joke. He -- the supporter -- did that, and I wanted to do something greater. And it echoed worldwide." But Daniel Alves da Silva is indeed a great actor. There is a popular Brazilian saying which states that people from Bahia (a Brazilian state) are not born, they debut. So the star of Alves, from Juazeiro, an inland town in Bahia, shone early. The celebrated right-back was then playing in the field when he got the proposal: "They needed an extra and went by asking who wanted to participate. As we had nothing to do..." "They," according to the player, were the production team of the Brazilian movie "the War of Canudos", released in 1997, directed by Sergio Rezende and starring famous Brazilian artists such as José Wilker, Cláudia Abreu, Paulo Betti, Marieta Severo... and Dani Alves. "We had to do something that was..." said the athlete, embarrassed about his "bad" role in the plot. "We had to shoot people, it was the War of Canudos. We had to try to kill people. But for God's sake, I hope nobody kills anybody, please, peace in the world! But we had to do it. And wearing outlaw and soldier outfits. We had to do such things. But for art it's all right," he explains. "They gave us three dollars and a lunch box, we had nothing. But it was good enough to buy candy on the weekend." Alves enjoyed the experience: "This actor side opens our mind a bit, we begin to interact more with people. My girlfriend and some friends do that. It's such a nice ride." But nothing compares to the World Cup. "It was nice, but I think there was something better waiting for me. Everyone has a destiny, and mine was already written. I could make my parents' dream come true; to be able to play in a World Cup they can watch in Brazil."