Alves claims best Messi partnership

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The 31-year-old, who joined the Catalans from Sevilla in 2008, has assisted 85 goals in his 304 appearances for his club so far, and claims he is the leading assister in setting up golden boy Lionel Messi to score.

“I've set up more goals for Messi than anyone at Barcelona,” Alves told La Vanguardia. “That's a fact.

“The cross for Messi's goal No 400 for Barça was mine. In Barca's first Club World Cup Leo's winning goal came from my cross. Some people might not like it, but it's there for everyone to see.”

There has been widespread speculation of the Brazilian’s future at the camp Nou, as he stated last week: “This will be my last season at Barcelona. Next year I will move to England. I want to play in the birthplace of football.”

However, Alves seems to have back-tracked on his previous remarks, saying he wishes to remain with the La Liga giants until current deal, which ends in June next year, expires, and possibly beyond.

“I've survived because I know the expectations that there always are here,” he said. “I always set myself challenges and staying at Barca is a personal challenge of mine.

“I want to leave with a feeling that my time at Barça has been awesome. I never think in the long term.

“So in the short term I want to see out my current contract here.”

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