DANI ALVES GIVES PEP TALK
Barcelona defender Dani Alves has predicted coach Pep Guardiola will renew his contract soon, saying: "Without him we are nothing."
As Guardiola refuses to sign a long-term deal, instead just extending by 12 months at a time, every year as his contract nears its end speculation circulates that he will move on.
Thus far he has always signed on for another year but, with Barca struggling by their own standards in the Primera Division this season, the speculation now is greater than ever.
Alves today told www.fcbarcelona.com: "I think he'll renew it, without him we are nothing."
He added: "I am convinced that Guardiola will stay with us, if not it'll be a big surprise for me. He makes this league greater."
Alves also hit out at criticism of Guardiola for their domestic struggles, despite his having led them through a period of unprecedented success over the last few years.
"Thanks to him I'm here and I've achieved so many things," he said. "I think in this life one should always be grateful.
"If he makes the decision not to continue, what he's already done will stay with us.
"Although football has no memory, we do remember.
"Guardiola has put the smile back into football, for the fans and people who like real football."
Second-placed Barca sit 10 points behind leaders and rivals Real Madrid in La Liga this season.
Despite that, Alves has not given up hope of a fourth straight title.
"Barca haven't said the last word yet in the competition," he said. "We know that it's tough and that their lead is considerable, but not impossible to peg back.
"We'll compete to the end, and if we lose, we'll congratulate the winners."
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