Barcelona right back Dani Alves, has sparked controversy by insisting that Real Madrid icon Cristiano Ronaldo is a selfish player incapable of influencing matches with the same force as Lionel Messi.
Alves conducted an interview in his native Brazil for the TV programme ‘Bola de Vez’, broadcast by ESPN, in which he offered his own forthright opinion on the debate over which of the two players really should be termed best in the world.
Messi looks certain to win the Ballon d’Or for a fifth time later this year after helping Barcelona to the Champions League in addition to the Primera Division and the Copa del Rey and his team-mate insists there is really no comparison between him and the current holder of the title.
“Messi is much better than Cristiano Ronaldo,” stated Alves. “Messi influences the game, Cristiano doesn’t.
“He doesn’t influence the game beyond scoring goals and being involved in a few actions. Messi is influential. He plays, scores and makes assists.
“Messi has a divine gift. Cristiano is about work.
“I don’t admire the things he does because I play as part of a team and my team is more important than I am. I don’t think he sees what really matters, which is the group.”
Alves has also confirmed that there was tension between Messi and the Barcelona head coach, Luis Enrique, at the turn of the year, which resulted in a confrontation on the training ground and threatened, for a time, to throw the Blaugrana’s season off track.
“Of course there was an incident, but it was about being competitive,” he said. “Luis Enrique saw an action in a training session in one way and Messi in another.
“Messi is very competitive and his team lost, so the argument blew up. Even the best families have squabbles.”