Dani Alves says there is nothing wrong at Barcelona despite two successive defeats and that the players must not listen to any criticism.
The Brazilian right-back has a reputation for direct talking and sent a message to the detractors who have started to question the team, and in particular boss Tata Martino’s tactics.
“We are alone and need to isolate ourselves from any negativity. Nothing is wrong at Barca,” claimed Alves in an interview with Mundo Deportivo.
“What happens here is that the demands are greater every year and our opponents are getting better, so they have nothing to lose.
“We’re fine, yet the problem is that we are being compared with Pep Guardiola’s Barca and the trophies it won, but you can’t do that. Time passes, people move on and the philosophy changes.
“The most important thing is that the group still has the same desire to win but every year it becomes more difficult, so it’s vital you value your victories.
“You can’t start doubting those who have made this the biggest club in the world. However, it appears some people are waiting for the slightest thing to try and put us down, but we are very strong,” he argued.
Alves was asked his thoughts on the Ballon d’Or. Somewhat surprisingly, he maintained he was sick and tired of all the talk regarding the award.
“I’m up to here with it because it seems that the one that has the best campaign will win it, like in politics. All of this is very tiresome.
“I have different ideas, because for me the one who should win it is the player who scores a lot of goals and helps his team win trophies.
“Nobody can win it who hasn’t lifted a trophy or scored a decisive goal. If I can avoid talking about the award then so much the better.”
The 30-year-old then explained why he had chosen Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery and Neymar for the Ballon d’Or, while leaving Cristiano Ronaldo out of his top three despite his recent goals for Portugal against Sweden.
“It’s a personal opinion. Cristiano has always scored goals, but important ones? With all due respect to Sweden, they were goals he scored in the play-offs.
“That can’t be important, or perhaps I see football in another way. Please! For me the merit is in qualifying directly and not via the play-offs.
“If we are talking about the best in the world then Leo is in first place with Ribery second because of what he’s won. Neymar is third because of the fact that Brazil have regained their respect in world football,” said Alves, who was questioned on his future with Barcelona.
“They’ve been talking about my future at the club ever since I arrived. I live for the present and take things year-by-year. For me it’s a compliment that some of the big clubs are interested in me as it’s a sign I’m doing my job well.
“The truth is I feel very good here. I’m a great believer that if you sign something then you must complete it, as long as both parties are in agreement.
“It’s like a relationship. If the relationship is no good then you have to go your separate ways. But right now I know both parties are happy,” he concluded.
See the latest La Liga predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk