Cristiano Ronaldo hit out at claims that his one and only ambition left in football is to finish with more Ballon d’Or awards than Lionel Messi.
The Manchester United and Portugal star missed Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris and released a statement via social media criticising France Football’s editor in chief, Pascal Ferre.
"Today's outcome explains why Pascal Ferré's statements last week, when he said that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Golden Balls than Lionel Messi," Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.
"Pascal Ferré lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for. It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d'Or. And he lied again today when justifying my absence from the Gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.”
The legendary forward added: “The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team in my country. The biggest ambition of my career is to be a good example for all those who are or want to be professional footballers. The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.”
Messi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain after his Barcelona career came to an abrupt end in the summer, won the award for a record-breaking seventh time on Monday.
He now sits two Ballons d’Or clear of his old rival Ronaldo, who turns 37 in February and may struggle to equal Messi’s remarkable tally now.
What does Cristiano Ronaldo think about the Ballon d'Or?
Although Ronaldo insisted that his ambition is not to end his career with more Ballon d’Or awards than Messi, a clip from a 2019 interview with Piers Morgan has subsequently gone viral on social media.
Piers asks Ronaldo: “Which record you most like to end up with as No. 1?”
Cristiano responds: “The most Golden Balls in the history of football, for example. I will love it and I think I deserve.
“As you mentioned before, Messi is a fantastic guy, a fantastic player. He’s in the history of football.
“But I think I have to have six or seven or eight. More above him, I think.”
There’s no shame in Ronaldo admitting that career ambition. He’s always wanted to be the greatest footballer of all time.
Asked about his relationship with Messi, Ronaldo added: “My relationship with him is we are not ‘friends’ or ‘home friends’ but we share this stage for 15 years.
“I have a good relationship with him and I know that he pushed me to be a better player, and I push him to be a better player as well.”
And asked if Messi is the best player he’s played against, Ronaldo said: “Yes, for sure.”
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