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The Brazilian defender believes certain sections of the press are trying to destabilise the European champions ahead of their clash with Real Madrid on December 10

Barcelona full-back Daniel Alves believes the suspicion surrounding Gerard Pique’s booking in Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Rayo Vallecano is evidence of the media's alleged persecution of the Catalan giants.

Pique collected a yellow card for time-wasting during the closing stages of the 4-0 win at Camp Nou, taking his tally to five for the season, thus ruling him out of this weekend’s clash with Levante.

However, there have been claims that the defender got himself cautioned deliberately so that he would not run the risk of missing the December 10 meeting with La Liga leaders Real Madrid. Should Pique be found guilty of that charge, he would pick up a two-game ban.

Alves, though, is in no doubt that his team-mate has done nothing untoward and believes that the incident is being blown out of proportion.

"Once again everyone is looking at Barcelona very closely, everything we do is frowned upon,” the former Sevilla full-back is quoted as saying by Marca.

"We have to focus on ourselves and ignore the comments from outside which are trying to destabilise [us]."

Alves was more happy to focus on the performance of Alexis Sanchez against Rayo, with the summer signing from Udinese scoring twice in one of his most impressive outings to date for Barca.

"I am very happy for him,” the Brazilian said of his fellow South American. "[He] works well, has been quite successful in front of goal and ultimately was able to score two goals."

Starting last week and continuing every Friday through to January, will publish extracts from Graham Hunter's highly-anticipated book, Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World. Friday's second extract was about how Joan Laporta and Sandro Rosell used David Beckham as a vote-winner in the club elections of 2003, even though a deal was already done between Manchester United and Real Madrid.