Dani Alves says he will wear the No. 23 shirt with his new club Juventus in honour of LeBron James.
The defender completed his move from Barcelona to the Italian champions on Monday, and in his introductory news conference on Tuesday, Alves said he selected his new number with the NBA star in mind.
“I’ve picked the No. 23 shirt. LeBron James is someone I admire for the way he constantly reinvents himself and never rests on his laurels, always aiming for new challenges and triumphs,” Alves said.
Alves’ change in numbers parallels James’ own switch. To honour former teammate Xavi, the Brazil international wore No. 6 last season at Barcelona — the same number James wore while with the Miami Heat before he reclaimed the No. 23 shirt when he rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James brought the Cavaliers their first NBA championship earlier this month, and Alves said he considers the basketball star a role model.
“After leaving Miami, where he was enjoying a good career, he’s come back with a bang and reinvented himself,” Alves said. “It’s a decision that brought about my choice to move to a new country, meet new teammates and experience another type of football.”
After winning the La Liga title the past two seasons with Barcelona, Alves will join the five-time defending Italian champs, but he says he’s set his sights on winning the Champions League with Juventus.
“The club’s dream is to win the Champions League, and I hope to help them achieve this,” Alves said. “I can’t say exactly what Juventus require to win the Champions League. That’s something I’ll begin to work out from now onwards.
“We need to believe we can win the Champions League if we are to do so. My teammates and I will give it our best shot.”
Alves also explained that the challenge of playing in Italy had motivated him to leave Spain, where he also played for Sevilla.
“It’s an honour to be here. Juve have a great dream, and I want to make it a reality,” he said. “The club’s history fascinates me. I also wanted a new experience, in a new country.
“Juventus is a club full of interesting challenges and goals. There’s a unique opportunity to go down in history here.
“I’m not someone who looks for an easy ride. I’m not a star, I’m a real grafter.”