It was reported by Imam Ahmad and others that Aisha (r.a) once said to prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam):
وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ عَرَفْتُ أَنَّ عَلِيًّا أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ أَبِي وَمِنِّي مَرَّتَيْنِ
“By Allah! I surely know that Ali is dearer to you than me and my father”
One of our brothers asked me to shed some light on this report and refute shias doubts.
First of all we would say, it was narrated by Imam Bukhari in his Saheeh, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 14, from Amr bin Al-As: The Prophet deputed me to read the Army of Dhat-as-Salasil. I came to him and said, “Who is the most beloved person to you?” He said, ” ‘Aisha.” I asked, “Among the men?” He said, “Her father.” I said, “Who then?” He said, “Then ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab.” He then named other men.
This report in itself is enough to refute shia doubt. Because report of Aisha (r.a), (if it is saheeh) is only her opinion, but hadith of Amr ibn al-As represent words and opinion of prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam).
Second point is we have mutawateer report from Ali, where he himself said that shaykhan are better than him in the matter of fadail.
Wa Allahu Alam.