Dani Alves crowns career with Olympic gold as Brazil beat Spain to retain title

38-year-old captain was playing in tournament as an over-age player

Brazil captain  Dani Alves celebrates after receiving his gold  medal on the podium after the win over Spain in the Olympic Games men’s soccer final  at Yokohama International Stadium. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil captain Dani Alves celebrates after receiving his gold medal on the podium after the win over Spain in the Olympic Games men’s soccer final at Yokohama International Stadium. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

 

Brazil 2 Spain 1

Defender Dani Alves rolled back the years to spur Brazil to a 2-1 win over Spain in the Tokyo Games soccer final on Saturday, enabling him to add an Olympic gold medal to a trophy cabinet already bursting with silverware.

A three-time Champions League winner with Barcelona, he had previously enjoyed international success in the Confederations Cup and the Copa America, but the Olympic final was the first time he came out on top in a global tournament.

Brazil’s 38-year-old captain, who had led the team as an overage player, collapsed to his knees at the final whistle and buried his face in his hands.

“My captain Dani, he’s unbelievable, he helps everyone. I think this feeling, he comes to the group and the feeling goes up. He’s unbelievable, I don’t have words for him,” Brazilian goalscorer Matheus Cunha told reporters.

“You know the difference in age is a little bit [big]. I’m like a little boy when I saw Barcelona, the Brazil national team, and now we were together, we take one gold medal for Brazil.”

Brazil became the fifth country to win back-to-back Olympic golds, after Britain (1908, 1912), Uruguay (1924, 1928), Hungary (1964, 1968) and Argentina (2004, 2008).

For Spain it was a disappointing end to the tournament, despite some flashes of brilliance produced by their youthful squad, but defender Eric Garcia was not overly disappointed.

“At the end, we must be proud of what we have done. Obviously we would have liked to get the gold but Brazil took it. We need to be proud of getting this medal, not everyone can do it,” he told reporters.

Asked if he intended to play for as long as Alves, the 20-year-old Garcia laughed.

“At his level it’s difficult, it was like he was 20 years old!” said the new Barcelona recruit.

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