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Barça's Dani Alves dedicates 3-1 win at Valladolid to coach Tito Vilanova

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Barcelona defender Dani Alves has dedicated the league leader’s 3-1 win at Valladolid on Saturday to coach Tito Vilanova.

The Barça boss, who led the club to their best-ever start in La Liga, suffered a cancer relapse and had to be rushed for an emergency surgery procedure earlier this week.

Players from both teams wore T-shirts before the game with messages of support for Vilanova, who had throat surgery to remove a second tumour in two years from a saliva gland on Thursday.

Dani Alves has dedicated the win, in which Lionel Messi scored his 91st and final goal of 2012, to Vilanova, who was released from hospital before the game.

The 29-year-old said: "This win is for Tito.

"It's a surprise and joy that he is home now. We are here to help him any way he can. Football is secondary now, he is fighting for his life."

The 44-year-old has received messages of support from all over globe and is expected to undergo around six weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Barcelona restored a nine-point lead over second-place Atlético Madrid with the win, and saw the gap over Real Madrid grow to 16 points after the Santiago Bernabeu outfit lost 3-2 to Malaga.

Dani Alves added: "We aren't celebrating anything yet. We will do that when we reach the end of the season."

The Brazil international also confirmed that reports suggesting he could leave Camp Nou, with clubs such as Arsenal said to be interested, are just rumours.

"Quit Barcelona? These are rumours. My goal is to be fit and compete to earn my starting spot. It is always difficult to win a place in this team," he concluded.


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