Barcelona - Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has given strong public backing to fullback Dani Alves, suggesting he wants the Brazil international to remain at the club beyond the end of this season.
Alves is yet to agree an extension to his contract, which expires in June, raising the possibility the 31-year-old will leave the club he joined from La Liga rivals Sevilla in July 2008.
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Alves came under fire this week for reacting angrily when he was substituted in the second half of Tuesday's Champions League victory at Manchester City but Luis Enrique had nothing but praise for him on Friday.
"In the decisions with the lineups you can see the confidence I have in Dani Alves, a player of great quality and professionalism," Luis Enrique told a news conference ahead of Saturday's La Liga game at Granada.
"Dani Alves is one of the most upbeat lads we have in the dressing room: positive, optimistic and with a winner's character," he added.
"Now that I now him better he is an example of what a professional should be.
"He is not the first player to be sad or angry when they leave the pitch. Some show it in a more effusive manner and others less so."
Alves has been a key part of Barca's success in recent years with his probing runs up the right wing and a fine understanding with the likes of Argentina forward Lionel Messi.
However, he has sometimes attracted criticism for a perceived weakness in defence and it was his howler that led to Malaga's goal in last weekend's surprise 1-0 La Liga defeat at the Nou Camp.
If Alves and Barca fail to agree on a new deal it could leave the club without a top-class right back as they have been banned by FIFA from participating in the transfer window until January next year.
Luis Enrique does not appear to have much confidence in Martin Montoya, who has only made seven appearances this season, and new signing Douglas has made just two starts.
Barca are second in La Liga with 14 matches remaining, four behind leaders Real Madrid, who host Villarreal on Sunday.
Champions Atletico Madrid are three points behind Barca in third ahead of Sunday's game at Sevilla.