Barcelona legend Dani Alves has admitted that he 'loves' former Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo and felt he could not previously express that due to the bitterness between the clubs.
Alves and Ronaldo duelled plenty of times on opposites sides of El Clasico from 2009, when the latter joined Real Madrid, until 2016, when the former departed for Juventus.
The Brazilian recently described the current Manchester United forward as his toughest opponent, and speaking on a podcast with UNAM Pumas teammate Efrio Velarde, Alves opened up on his true feelings about Ronaldo.
"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 Barça-Madrid was generating outside."
Alves added that he identifies with Ronaldo more so than former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi because of their hard work and dedication to reach the top, whereas he believes the Argentine was destined for greatness no matter what.
“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."