Dani Alves: Barcelona are inspired by back-to-back Treble chance
Barcelona defender Dani Alves says matching or even bettering last season's Treble success is "an incredible challenge" which is pushing him and his teammates on.
Barca had a great 2014-15 -- winning the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League trophies -- and Luis Enrique's side remain well placed to repeat that feat this year as the campaign's decisive months arrive.
No team in European football history has ever won back-to-back Trebles, and nobody has been able to retain the Champions League trophy since the competition was expanded in 1992.
Brazilian international Alves told Movistar Plus show Late Motiv de Andreu Buenafuente that he was confident his team could do what had never been done before.
"We have an incredible challenge and I think that is what moves us human beings," Alves said. "We have reached this stage and we have the feeling it could be a better year than last year. Our antenna are out to be able to do it. We do this job to enjoy it. I believe we can go even further."
Barca also won the Treble under former coach Pep Guardiola back in 2008-09. with playmaker Xavi Hernandez pulling the strings in midfield, then went some years without similar success under Tito Vilanova and Gerardo Martino, before coming back under current boss Luis Enrique with a new style -- based around directly feeding its three-man strike force of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Alves has played through both of these eras and says he believes that some changes had been required.
"We had to dip for a while to rise again," he said. "When you have a philosophy and have been doing it for many years, it is difficult to go another way. Things had to change. I believe pieces have changed, and this is a different cycle."
Barca midfielder Sergi Roberto has echoed his teammate on Barca's aims for the season, saying he would take right now a Champions League final against Real Madrid.
"To win a second [back-to-back] Champions League is difficult, but it would be historic," Sergi Roberto said. "We are aware that we can achieve another treble. We are in the final of the Copa del Rey, there are just ten games left in the league and the Champions League is very hard, but we will try. I would take now a final against Madrid, or anyone. There would be lots of nerves, but I'd take it."
Barca take a 2-0 lead into next Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Arsenal, with the Gunners set to arrive at the Camp Nou missing important players -- potentially including Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Laurent Koscielny.
The versatile La Masia graduate expects a difficult game against Arsenal, but revealed Barca would set out to win on the night to progress in style.
"Arsenal is a very strong opponent; we have a two-goal lead and they have some big absentees, but they will make things difficult," Sergi Roberto said. "We will go for the win from the very start."