Parma defender Bruno Alves has won more aerial duels than Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk and joked Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has ‘never beaten me in the air’.
The Portuguese defender has been a rock in the Gialloblu defence since he arrived from Rangers in July 2018 and has been named captain at the Ennio Tardini.
Now, the 38-year-old proves to be one of the protagonists in the top five European Leagues and top the list of aerial duels won, boasting a stat of 78,4 per cent, a number that can’t be bettered by anyone this campaign.
Virgil van Dijk, who is calculated by transfermarkt.de to have a market value worth €99m more than Alves, is second on the list on 74,9 per cent with Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi at fourth on 70,1 per cent.
The two mentioned are the only two players who play in Serie A among the top 10 and when Alves was asked to compare himself to his compatriot Ronaldo, currently on 20 goals in 21 games, he claimed he was a better header than the five time Ballon d'Or Winner.
“I have already played against him a few times, but he has never beaten me in the air,” he said on Instagram and joked: “He might be faster and better technically, but in the air I have my doubts…”
Highest percentages of aerial duels won in Europe’s top 5 Leagues by Transfermarkt:
1. Bruno Alves (Parma) 78,4% [€1m]
2. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) 74,9 [€100m]
3. Grant Hanley (Norwich) 70,1% [€2.5m]
4. Francesco Acerbi (Lazio) 70,1% [€15m]
5. James Tarkowski (Burnley) 69,6% [€25m]