Alves: Barcelona still the team to beat
By Football News
The Brazilian is not fazed by last season's disappointments and is keen to remind people that Barcelona remain the current world champions, having won the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan last year.
"We're still the team to beat because we're the best team in the world," he told the club's official website.
"We're the ones that have the logo on our shirts that distinguishes us as world champions."
Last season saw the La Liga title slip from Barcelona's grasp to their arch-rivals Real Madrid, but Alves has warned Los Blancos he is hungrier than ever for domestic success.
"I'm as eager as ever. If we lost the last Liga title it's because we weren't as good as the team that finished first. There are no excuses in this club, we have to improve.
"It's all the same to me if we're defending a title or trying to win it. I'm comfortable knowing that the team is competitive, that we have the capacity to fight for all of the titles."
The attacking right-back, who has represented Brazil on 55 occasions, is also confident that Barcelona will get off to a good start under the guidance of new manager Tito Vilanova.
"Pep left us in good hands. There will be continuity to his work. I'm sure that the athletic project will be reinvigorated and that the players will be eager to do important things," he said.
Alves believes that Barcelona will challenge for honours on all fronts and that he has faith in the ability of his team-mates.
"The team is ready and starting off on the right foot gives you more confidence for the rest of the season. It's difficult to find the right balance if you start with doubts," he said.
"It doesn't matter if we have a lot of players on the roster. Every player must bring something to the team, that's the important thing. That's why we're calm and ready for the season to start."
Vilanova's title charge begins at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday evening before their Spanish Super Cup showdown with Real Madrid on Thursday.