Brazil defender Alves decides to leave Barcelona
REUTERS - Barcelona's Brazil right back Dani Alves has decided to leave the Nou Camp after eight years with the Spanish champions, the club said on Thursday.
The 33-year-old Alves, who won 23 titles in his spell at Barca, is a free agent.
He has not indicated where he plans to go, but the player's agent and former wife, Dinorah Santa Ana da Silva, said last week that she had met representatives of Italian champions Juventus as well as several other European clubs.
"This is a personal decision that the club has to accept," Barca's sporting director Robert Fernandez told a news conference.
He said the defender extended his contract for an extra season last year to ensure Barca had cover after they were banned from signing new players by world governing body FIFA for breaching rules on signing non-Spanish under-18 players.
But Fernandez said that even then the question of Alves leaving this year was discussed.
"All we can do is respect his decision," he said, pointing out that Alves was now a free agent. "For players that come here, this is their goal. We are not a club that buys players and sells them on. We are a destination."
Alves won three Champions League trophies, three European Super Cups, three Club World Cups and six La Liga titles with Barca. He also won domestic honours with previous club Sevilla.
Fernandez said it was increasingly difficult to compete financially with the English Premier League, which has secured an even more lucrative television deal starting next season.
He added that Barca had signed Aleix Vidal from Sevilla, with a view to him replacing Alves, and had other signings in mind.
Fernandez also told reporters he was confident their Brazil striker Neymar and Argentina defender Javier Mascherano, who was linked with a possible move, would stay at the Nou Camp.
(Reporting by Neville Dalton; editing by Ken Ferris)