·23 September 2022
·23 September 2022
Both players have now moved on.
Alves, now 39, is still playing Mexico for UNAM.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, left Real Madrid in 2018 and is still playing at the highest level with Manchester United.
With the two players no longer rivals, Alves has now spoken very highly of the legendary forward.
Speaking to UNAM team-mate El Chispa Velarde in a video published on Youtube, per Sport, Alves said of Ronaldo: “In particular, I love Cristiano. Now it’s not Barca vs Madrid, because it always seems that you can’t talk, now I’m not there, I can. Cristiano exemplified for all of us that we don’t need to have so much quality, that with hard work we can also compete against the best. He exemplified it.
“I respect him so much, and one day I played against him and I had the chance to tell him.”
“There was a time when I tried to greet him and he did not greet me, that create controversy once. In a Ballon d’Or we also had a disagreement there, he did not greet me, because of all the noise that was happening there. They said that if I did not respect him why would he to me. How can I not respect a guy that has played through his hard work, on the basis of his balls. I identify with him. All I did in my life was on that basis.”
Alves went on to state that he was more like Ronaldo as a player than Messi.
He continued: “If you made a comparison, me as a player, I would be closer to Cristiano than Leo. I say that as it’s identifying more with Cristiano on the basis of work. It was what I did during my life, work to reach to where I reached. It was not pure talent. There was a percentage of that, but the biggest thing was hard work.
“That’s what Cristiano does. He has talent, yes, he does. But his work is what lets him compete with Messi and anyone else. How can I not respect that? But, sure, at Barca and Madrid that kind of thing comes up.”
Just last week, Alves named Ronaldo as his toughest ever opponent.
“He doesn’t let you breathe for a second. I didn’t do too badly, but it’s difficult. He’s a scoring machine,” Alves said, per Marca.
The two had so many battles on the pitch, but the admiration Alves has for Ronaldo is brilliant to see.
1 of 40
Real Madrid Atletico Madrid Paris Saint-Germain Barcelona
View publisher imprint