In an interview with ESPN's Brazilian football programme Bola de Vez, Barcelona right-back Dani Alves has called Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo a selfish player and claimed Argentine international Lionel Messi is much better.
The two superstars of world football have often been compared with one another, and it really comes as little surprise as the duo have split the previous seven Ballon d’Or awards.
Messi and Ronaldo’s goal tallies year on year go beyond the realms of reality, with the latter winning the head-to-head in that department last season with a career-high 61 strikes in all competitions.
However, for all of the Portuguese forward's efforts, he ultimately ended the campaign without lifting major silverware and his well-documented egocentric antics throughout 2015 have prompted plenty of criticism.
“I think he cares little for what really matters, which is the collective side of the game. He has things I do not admire, because I play for the team. I think that my team is more important than me,” Alves said on Bola de Vez.
While Ronaldo did end up winning the Spanish top scorer award, Messi was the ultimate winner as he notched a memorable La Liga, Copa Del Rey and Champions League treble.
Aside from his astonishing goal record, the little magician also provided a glut of assists and brought the best out of fellow teammates Neymar and Luis Suarez, traits which Alves believes make him the best.
“Messi is much better than Ronaldo. Messi has an influence on the play and Ronaldo doesn’t. See if he has an influence on the play beyond scoring goals and appearing in certain moves,” Alves added.
“Messi is influential, he plays and assists. Messi has a divine gift.”
Is Dani Alves right in his assumption?
While the comparisons are natural, it’s worth taking into account that last season both performed quite differing roles, with Messi naturally dropping back and being more of a creator.
Ronaldo is drifting away from his younger winger days and is now much more of a predator in front of goal - the majority of his strikes now coming from receiving the ball inside the 18-yard box.
This common perception of the former Manchester United player being selfish is likely to continue next season if he takes on a centre-forward role, though that may not necessarily be a bad attribute to have.