The pair were teammates at the Blaugrana for eight seasons and won six La Liga titles, as well as three Champions League trophies among other pieces of silverware.
Messi had many great relationships with his colleagues, brilliantly linking up with Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta and regularly getting on the end of deft cut-backs from the marauding Jordi Alba down the left.
But there was something special about watching Alves and Messi combine. Messi would drift over to the right flank and play one-touch with Alves, rinsing defenders with quick, incisive passing.
Some of the football they played is genuinely mesmeric and a compilation from 'Messi TheBoss' on YouTube, lasting six minutes long but well worth your time, has garnered a massive 10 million views.
Another, from 'Footballin', brands Messi and Alves a "crazy duo" and has five minutes of them producing art on the pitch.
Messi and Alves would frequently warm up as a twosome and ping the ball across to another at the Nou Camp and other grounds around Europe.
Every touch was more or less perfect, whether it was chest, foot or thigh. The ball was killed dead and it remains a joy to watch till this day.
According to Alves, their combination play was actually forbidden by Pep Guardiola, who did not approve.
Yet Alves argued that he needed to be close to Messi in order to keep their talisman involved in the play.
“Pep hates these full-back to winger passes because they don’t offer progression," Alves said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
But I used to do them with Messi a lot and he’d be annoyed.
“One day I told him: ‘I don’t accept your complaints. If Messi doesn’t touch the ball for two minutes, he disconnects from the match.
"If we’re going to prepare a style which defines our play, he always needs to be connected to it. Then he can link up with the rest of us.’ Pep told me: ‘You’re right.’ These type of players always need to be on the ball.”
Featured Image Credit: Image: YouTube
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