World-class Barcelona star names James Milner as his toughest ever opponents

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Dani Alves has described James Milner as the most annoying opponent that he has ever faced.

The Brazilian full-back has played our-vice captain six times at either international level or in the Champions League, although never when Milner has been playing in a Liverpool shirt.

Alves’s Barcelona knocked Milner’s Manchester City out of Europe in successive seasons. The 32-year-old’s only defeat to the Englishman came in Brazil colours at Wembley in February 2013.

And on each occasion, Alves has suggested that the tireless midfielder never gave him a moment’s rest.

“I have faced many, but the most annoying was James Milner,” he is quoted as saying by The Times when asked about his toughest ever opponent. “He follows you forward and follows you backwards. It’s very difficult because he attacks you and defends you, and then attacks you and defends you again.”

It is a strange statement for Alves to make when he has come up against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Angel Di Maria in Spain, but it is almost certainly intended as a compliment.

Milner is renowned for his discipline and work ethic. In statistics compiled by Sky Sports this week, he ranked as third best in the Premier League for distance covered per game, averaging 11.82 per match.

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