Barcelona icon praises Cristiano Ronaldo, compares him to Lionel Messi 10 days ago

For years, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were on opposite sides. While the Argentine star was the face of Barcelona, the Portuguese forward played for Real Madrid. Recently, a Barca legend admitted feeling identified with Ronaldo.

Many believe their best days are far behind them, and maybe so. However, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo continue to be among the most influential, renowned, and impactful players on Earth.

It may be true that they are no longer the favorite candidates for the Ballon d'Or, but Messi and Ronaldo still have a lot left in the tank. While the PSG star carries Argentina's World Cup aspirations, Portugal also have a lot of expectations in the Manchester United striker ahead of Qatar 2022.

Either way, what the pair have done throughout their careers will live long in every fan's memory. Besides, they have drawn massive respect from his peers, even from opponents. In fact, a former teammate of Messi has recently revealed how much he admires Ronaldo.

Barcelona: Lionel Messi's former teammate identifies with Cristiano Ronaldo

In an appearance on the podcast of Pumas UNAM teammate Efrain Velarde, Dani Alves confessed being a long-term admirer of Ronaldo. The Brazilian defender said that he never said it before because of the Barcelona-Real Madrid rivalry.

"Particularly, I love Cristiano," Alves said. "Now that we're not in the Barca vs. Madrid anymore - because it always seems that you cannot talk, now that I'm not, I can talk. Cristiano is an example for all of us, who don't have a lot of quality, that by working hard you can also compete against the best. He is an example of this. I respect him a lot, even when I played against him. I had the opportunity to tell him.

"If you made a comparison, me - as a player - I'm much closer to Cristiano than to Leo. I'd say I'm more identified with Cristiano because of the hard work. It's what I've done for my whole life: working hard to be where I am today. It wasn't pure talent. Talent was a part of it, but the biggest part was the work. And that's what Cristiano does. He is talented, he is. But it's his work what makes him compete with Messi and anyone else."

Well, Alves seems to respect Ronaldo a lot, though it looks like he underestimates his talent. The Portuguese star is widely regarded for his work ethic, but overlooking his quality is a mistake. At the end of the day, people will prefer Messi or Ronaldo. But both are incredibly talented, regardless of who you like the most.