Dani Alves is prepared to call Cristiano Ronaldo “a phenomenon” now, but considers himself to be “like Conor McGregor” when it comes to facing opponents.
Alves still considers his former colleague at Camp Nou, Lionel Messi, to be the best player on the planet, but acknowledges that Ronaldo is a special talent.
The Brazilian is, however, eager to point out that he would never say as much in the build-up to a crunch clash, much like UFC star McGregor – who is currently preparing to face Floyd Mayweather in an eagerly anticipated contest – would not talk up his foes.
“Sometimes, words are twisted and don’t reach people in their intended way,” Alves told AS.
“Do they think I’m an idiot or mentally ill? I’m not. Do they think I don’t know that Cristiano is a phenomenon? He is, but I think Messi has a little more influence on the game. Still, that doesn’t detract from Cristiano.
“I’m like Conor McGregor. Before going to battle, I won’t say that he’s a phenomenon. It’s part of the game.
“How to stop a player of his level, while respecting the rules? I’ve also taken elbows from him.
“But it’s part of the game. I’m not going to cry about it. What happens on the pitch stays on the pitch.”
Ronaldo inspired Madrid to a Champions League victory over Juventus at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, with his brace helping the Blancos to a 4-1 win.
He is, however, now looking for a way out of the Spanish capital, with reports of his desire to move on sparking intense speculation ahead of the summer transfer window.