Alves hopes for Guardiola stay
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Barcelona defender Dani Alves says he hopes Pep Guardiola will stay on as coach of the Spanish champions after his contract with the club expires at the end of next season.

Guardiola, 40, hinted he may leave the club in an interview with Italian television channel Rai this month, saying: "I think my time is ending here in Barcelona."

"Next year will be my fourth consecutive as Barça coach. A club like this must have a lot of courage to keep a coach for all this time because players tire of coaches and vice versa," he added.

But in an interview published today in daily newspaper El Mundo, Alves said he and the rest of the squad want him to stay on.

"We follow him with our eyes shut. He is very intelligent, he always knows what he is doing. To not follow Guardiola would be foolish. Since we are not foolish we will follow him until he gets tired of us," he said.

We hope his cycle will last for a very long time because we can't imagine Barça without Guardiola.
Dani Alves, Barcelona defender

"Everyone has their cycle and one day his will come to an end. We hope his cycle will last for a very long time because we can't imagine Barça without Guardiola," the 27-year-old Brazilian international added.

Guardiola, who spent most of his playing career at Barcelona, coached Barcelona's B team before taking control of the first-team squad in June 2008 from Dutchman Frank Rijkaard.

The former Spanish international playmaker has won eight trophies, including successive La Liga titles and the 2009 UEFA Champions League, since taking over Barcelona's senior team.

Barça held Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, leaving them eight points ahead of their rivals and well placed to clinch their third straight league title.

The two sides will meet again on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey final at Valencia's Mestalla stadium, with Mourinho aiming to win his first trophy since taking charge of Real.

Barcelona and Real will also face off twice in the Champions League semi-finals, with the first leg at the Bernabeu on 27 April and the return leg on 3 May at the Camp Nou.