Alves moved to his first major team, Boavista FC, for the 1974–75 campaign, where he first showed more of his talent, earning him a transfer to Spain's UD Salamanca, where he remained two more years.
He then returned to Portugal and Benfica, only to move after one year to Paris Saint-Germain FC. Failing to impress he immediately moved back to Benfica, where he would play for the next three seasons; he spent two final seasons at Boavista, ending his career during 1984–85 to become team coach.
On 28 November 2011, following Swiss Cupelimination at the hands of FC Biel-Bienne (0–3 away loss), Alves was relieved of his duties. However, following poor results achieved by his successor and the club's takeover by Hugh Quennec, he was reinstated as manager in April 2012: in the final five games of the season results improved, with the team achieving four wins and one draw – this included a 2–1 win over eventual champions FC Basel, which ended Servette's streak of 17 consecutive defeats against that opponent as well as ending their 26 match unbeaten run – and the side eventually qualified for the UEFA Europa League.