Dani Alves: I respect Cristiano Ronaldo, but Lionel Messi is in another world

Dani Alves and Lionel Messi celebrate a goal during their time together at Barcelona.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Barcelona right-back Dani Alves has revealed his respect for Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, despite a fracas at the Ballon d'Or a few years ago, but says Lionel Messi is 'in a world only he can reach'.

Alves and Messi played together for a number of years at Barcelona and the Brazilian has admitted there were tensions with Ronaldo due to the rivalry with Real Madrid at that time.

Speaking on a podcast with Pumas team-mate Efrain Valverde, Alves said: "There came a time because of the rivalry that I would go over to greet him [Ronaldo] and he wouldn't greet me.

"There was a controversy that never came out, but in the dressing room of the Ballon d'Or ceremony we had a fracas, I greeted everyone and he didn't greet me because of what the Barcelona-Real Madrid rivalry was generating outside.

But how can I not respect a guy who has achieved everything based on hard work and putting his heart and soul into it?"

Nevertheless, in the debate over which player is best, Alves' loyalties lie firmly in the Argentine's camp. 

"He [Messi] was born with the talent to play football and to be in another world that only he can reach," he said.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.