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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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Alves: We will miss Mourinho

Barcelona right-back Dani Alves says everyone in Spain - and especially journalists - will miss Jose Mourinho when he leaves La Liga.

• Corrigan on Barca's season
• Blog: Campions!
• Barca's season in pictures Photo Gallery

With Mourinho rumoured to be close to a return to former club Chelsea, many around the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu appear happy to draw a line under three years full of rows with opponents, referees, UEFA, his own players and fans, and an especially fraught relationship with the local media.

The Special One's relationship with another of his old sides, Barcelona, has also been tetchy to say the least - and he and Alves have had public run-ins on more than one occasion.

But the Brazil international, speaking after Sunday night's 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid, told reporters that the Portuguese coach's absence would be felt whenever the time comes for it to happen.

"We will miss Mourinho," Alves said. "La Liga will lose something without him as he is a great competitor.

"I have not fought with him. We are just two winners. He is one of the most ambitious coaches in the competition, and he adds spice. You [the journalists] will lose more than us [the players]."

Madrid's 1-1 draw at Espanyol on Saturday night had confirmed Barcelona as this season's Spanish champions, with three games still to play. This took the edge off the following evening's game, however Alves said nobody should think that regaining the title from Mourinho's side had been easy.

"I am very pleased, winning this title has been a long process," he said. "But we have done it, now we have to celebrate it with the importance it deserves. If it were so easy to win La Liga, we would not have lost it last season."

Asked for his moment of the season, Alves chose the 5-0 Primera Division win over Real Mallorca at the Camp Nou, the night when both Eric Abidal and Tito Vilanova returned after long absences through serious illness.

"I remember when Abidal and Tito returned," he said. "It has been a special year because we have won something more important than just a cup, we have won the battle for Abi and Tito's lives. This league is for them, for everything they have had to suffer."

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