Alves reveals secret Ronaldo admiration after years of 'El Clasico' rivalry – talkSPORT

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Former Barcelona star Dani Alves has revealed a hidden respect and admiration for five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
The pair were both domestic and European rivals when Barcelona and Real Madrid went head to head for the biggest prizes in club football.
Dani Alves now plays his club football in Mexico after a trophy-laden career in Europe
Alves has heaped praise on Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo
Alves, 39, returned to the Nou Camp for a short spell earlier this year but now plays his football in Mexico with Club Universidad Nacional.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s future is still uncertain after failing to secure a move away from Manchester United before the end of the transfer window.
On a podcast, the Brazilian admitted he always had respect for Ronaldo but the intensities of the ‘El Clasico’ rivalry prevented him from previously revealing his true feelings.
Alves told team-mate Efrio Velarde: “I love Cristiano. 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.”
He continued: “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.
Alves recalled a scuffle between him and Ronaldo due in part to the rivalry between Barcelona and Real madrid
“I greeted everyone and he didn’t greet me because of what Barca-Madrid was generating outside.
“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.”
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Despite never being a team-mate of Ronaldo, Alves made a surprise claim that he sees more of his own similarities with the Portuguese star than former team-mate Lionel Messi.
Alves added: “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.”
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