Ronaldo hits back at 'lies' about Ballon d'Or rivalry with Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo has hit back at comments made by Ballon d'Or organiser Pascal Ferre, saying the editor-in-chief of France Football “lied” about his rivalry with Lionel Messi.
Ferre told the New York Times on Friday that Manchester United forward Ronaldo's sole ambition was to retire with more of the awards for the world's best player than Messi.
Argentine Messi, who joined Paris St Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the close season, beat Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho to claim a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or award.
“Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for,” Ronaldo, who has won the award five times, said in an Instagram post.
“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.”
France Football did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on Ronaldo's post.
“I always win for myself and for the clubs I represent, I win for myself and for those who love me. I don't win against someone,” added the Portugal forward.
“The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.”
Messi added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies after winning the Copa America for the first time with his country last July.
“It's incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key,” Messi said at Paris's Theatre du Chatelet.
“It is a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracana stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina.
“I don't know if it's the best year of my life, I've had a long career, but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”
Messi, who joined Paris St Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the close season after finishing as La Liga's top scorer with the Spanish club, collected 613 points, with Bayern Munich's Lewandowski, named best striker on Monday, getting 580.
Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and the European championship with Italy, ended up third on 460, ahead of France's Karim Benzema and Ngolo Kante in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Chelsea, named club of the year, also had keeper Edouard Mendy finishing second in the Yashin trophy behind Italy's Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The women's Ballon d'Or went to Alexia Putellas after the Spain midfielder guided Barcelona to Champions League glory.
“The key moment was the Champions League final against Olympique Lyonnais,” she said.
Putellas is the third winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin after Ada Hegerberg in 2018 and Megan Rapinoe in 2019. There was no ceremony last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On a good night for Barcelona, the 19-year-old Pedri was awarded the Kopa trophy for the best U21 player. — Reuters
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