Barcelona legend Dani Alves has said that he had a scuffle with Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or dressing room during their time as rivals in La Liga. The Brazilian made the comments during a podcast with his Pumas teammate Efrio Velarde, as conveyed by Managing Madrid.
Representing the two biggest clubs in Spain, Alves (Barcelona) and Ronaldo (Real Madrid) were always up against it in El Clasico clashes. Nevertheless, the Brazilian has said that he loves Ronaldo and feels he can express it now that they are no longer playing for the La Liga giants.
“I love Cristiano,” the defender said. “Now that we are no longer at Barca and Madrid I can speak because it always seemed like I couldn’t. Cristiano exemplifies, for all of us who don’t have that much quality, that with hard work you can also compete against the best. I respect him a lot, and I had the opportunity to tell him."
About his scuffle with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner in the Ballon d'Or dressing room, Alves said:
"There came a time because of the rivalry that I went up to greet him, and he didn’t greet me. There was a controversy that never came out, but in the Ballon d’Or dressing room we had a ‘scuffle’, I greeted everyone, and he didn’t greet me because of what Barca-Madrid was generating outside."
The Brazilian also commented on the eternal debate involving the Portuguese superstar and his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi. Highlighting the difference between the two footballing icons, Alves noted that Ronaldo is a product of hard work, while Messi is a natural talent.
“How can I not respect a guy who got everything based on work? I identify with him, because everything I did in my life was based on that,” he explained.
“If you made a comparison, as a player, I am closer to Cristiano than to Leo because of the work, not because of the talent, because Leo is a born talent, who was born with the talent to play football and to be in another world that only he achieves.”
When was the last time Cristiano Ronaldo won Ballon d'Or?
Cristiano Ronaldo last claimed football's most coveted prize in 2017, after helping Real Madrid become the first club to successfully defend the UEFA Champions League. That triumph raised the Manchester United star's Ballon d'Or tally to five, making him one of the most successful players in the history of the award, as he went level with Messi.
He came close to winning the Ballon d'Or once again in 2018, as he finished second behind Luka Modric. Cristiano Ronaldo appeared among the finalists once again in 2019, as he finished third in the rankings. Since then, though, he has not finished in the top three.