The veteran Brazilian has left the Serie A outfit, in the latest twist in a long-running saga between the two sides
Sao Paulo say that they have released Dani Alves after the defender refused to play for the club amid a dispute over his pay packet.
The veteran Brazilian, who returned to play in his home country in 2019 following a prolific decade-and-a-half spell in Europe, has parted ways with the Serie A outfit.
It is the latest twist in a long-running saga between club and player, one intensified in the wake of the right-back’s gold-medal victory with the Selecao at the Olympics last month.
What has happened?
Sao Paulo confirmed the news in a press conference on Friday, three days ahead of their first game back from the September international break.
Football director Carlos Belmonte revealed that Alves refused to return to training following duty with Brazil, in a move that ultimately forced the club’s hand.
“We were told by his representatives that Daniel Alves will not come back to Sao Paulo until there is an adjustment in the financial debt that Sao Paulo has with the player,” Belmonte said.
“Sao Paulo recognises that debt and last week we made a proposal to try and right it. The proposal was not accepted by the player’s representatives. Negotiations will continue.
“We have taken the decision and told this to coach Hernan Crespo that Dani Alves will no longer be at his disposal to play for Sao Paulo.
“We all work for this institution. Nobody is bigger than Sao Paulo Football Club.”
What is the dispute?
The 38-year-old’s management have claimed that he is owed a significant sum – R$10 million (£1.37m/$1.9m) – in relation to image rights, dating back to his arrival two years ago.
Previous statements made in the run-up to Alves’ Olympic gold – and a sharp critique from the player following his triumph – indicated his frustration with the club’s failure to deliver.
Sao Paulo subsequently claimed that they had fully repaid the debt owed, though they did admit that payments had been made late to the player.
Alves’ World Cup hopes handed blow
Having not played for Brazil since 2019, it looked like the former Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain defender’s international career could be over.
But his superb form in Tokyo, as one of a handful of over-age players for Brazil, earned him plaudits and a path back into Tite’s set-up this month, coming off the bench against Peru.
Without a club now however, he faces a race to find a new side – and to keep his dream alive of earning a spot in the squad for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.