Pep Guardiola has leapt to the defence of Barca’s right back, Dani Alves after the Brazilian was sent off if Guardiola’s final league match as Barca boss. Alves was sent off for a second half foul on Jefferson Montero and has been roundly criticised since, but Guardiola has defended him, declaring that he is and “irreplaceable player”.

Barca struggled after Alves’ sending off and it took a last minute goal from Seydou Keita to snatch an equaliser for last season’s champions.

Guardiola took the time in his last league post match press conference to hail the Brazilian and stifle any talk of a transfer away from the Nou Camp.

“Alves exit rumours? It’s not up to me anymore, but for me he is irreplaceable.”

AC Milan are amongst a host of clubs keen to take advantage if Alves does become available this summer but it is clear that if it were Guardiola’s decision Alves would be staying precisely where he is.

Guardiola accepted that it was a foolish mistake and a side of his game which Alves must work upon in the future but he emphasised that the player’s class at the top level made him well worth sticking by. He was keen to press the point that Barca would be hard pressed to find a replacement for Alves should he leave, and realistically that has got to be the basis for deciding if a player stays or goes.

Guardiola finished his La Liga press conference dismissing talk that the division would be a worse one without him. “La Liga existed before me and will exist after me, and I have no idea(what I will do), I cannt answer that now”.

Guardiola and Barca will part permanently on May 25 when they take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey Final. They will be hoping to go out on a high and add one more trophy to the impressive collection they have achieved together.