Brazilian defender Dani Alves on Friday described his Barcelona team as the best in the world and remained the side to beat despite being dethroned as champions by bitter rivals Real Madrid.
"We are still the team to beat because we are the best team in the world," Alves said on the eve of the new season which will see Barcelona open against Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Last season, Barcelona's three-year title grip was loosened by Real Madrid and they will start the new campaign under a new coach after Tito Vilanova succeeded Pep Guardiola.
"If there is somebody who can apply the same concepts of the game, it's Tito Vilanova," added Alves, who backtracked on his assertion last season that if Guardiola left, Barceloan would "sink".
"If I said that, it was a strategy to keep Guardiola," he said.