Barcelona star Dani Alves has opened up about his heated exchange with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo at January's Ballon d'Or ceremony and said he "couldn't care less" about the Portuguese.
Marca reported that the pair exchanged verbals at the Zurich gala, with Ronaldo upset with Alves after the Brazilian accused him of being "too much of a personality" following November's El Clasico.
Alves said that the argument between the pair was manipulated by the press, but he did reveal that Ronaldo was indeed angry with him, per Spain's Onda Cero (via Marca):
In Zurich (at the Ballon d'Or ceremony) I went to say hello out of good manners and he didn't want to, he was angry, but it's not a problem. I sleep like a baby, I couldn't care less. He asked me why I spoke about him, I told him I wasn't speaking about him, they asked me, and when you're a personality, these things can happen. Why would I need to speak about him if I don't know him? I can only give my opinion on football. I hope he's getting on with his life and he's happy.
Alves has a history of winding up Real and never misses a chance to stick the boot in to the Madrid giants.
After Barca's 4-0 drubbing of Real at the Bernabeu towards the end of last year he questioned whether Los Blancos had what it takes to win Clasicos, per Spanish football writer Dermot Corrigan (Warning: NSFW language):
He did not mince his words when questioned recently over the threat of Real under new manager Zinedine Zidane, per Marca: "Are Real Madrid under Zidane going to be a harder nut to crack? Zidane's Madrid, Mourinho's, Ancelotti's, Benítez's, they're never going to go away, they'll always be there pissing us off."
Barca's next league clash with Real is not until April, by which point the Blaugrana will hope to have opened up a bigger lead over their archrivals.
Luis Enrique's side are currently top of La Liga, and are three points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid with a game in hand—Real are a point further back in third.
Barca are in flying form, and have won their last nine games on the bounce in all competitions, most recently trouncing Valencia 7-0 in the Copa del Rey, as analysed by Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe and Dean Jones:
No one is able to do the things he can. When he was thinking about going to play somewhere else, I told him to look back in time at the other Brazilians who have played here, whether they'd been successful here or not, and how they had subsequently got on at other clubs. The Brazilians who have played here have always fared extremely well. They must give him a new deal, they'd be mad not to. Neymar will be the one to succeed Messi.
"Pep will become whatever he wants to. He's just like Ney in this respect. They've got such an ability to reinvent themselves. ... He went to Bayern, but I don't think that he has enjoyed it there. He's someone who likes to shake everything up."
Alves continues to be a key part of the Barca side despite suggestions back in the summer that he may be set for pastures new, per the Independent.
He now seems more settled than ever, though, and is on track to pick up yet more silverware this season, while his desire to get one over on Real remains strong.