Cristiano Ronaldo has released a furious statement hitting out at claims from Ballon d’Or chief Pascal Ferre that his career ambition was to finish with more awards than his rival Lionel Messi, after the forward finished sixth in the rankings.
Ronaldo was absent from Monday night’s awards ceremony – run by publication France Football – and the Manchester United star sent out a lengthy retort to comments made by Ferre to the New York Times that he always had Messi in his sights amid their bitter rivalry to win the year gong.
He ended up being beaten by the Argentine on Monday night having missed out on a place in the top five. He had edged ahead of Gigi Donnarumma, Kylian Mbappe, Kevin de Bruyne and Mo Salah, but didn’t have enough votes to win his sixth award.
But although he will be disappointed to lose out to Messi, Ronaldo made it clear he was far from happy with Ferre’s claims that he wanted to better his rival’s total.
Ferre had said, “Ronaldo has only one ambition and that is to retire with more Ballon d’Or than Messi and I know because he told me.”
But the player hit back at that claim, saying Ferre had used his name to promote his name, his publication and the ceremony – insisting he wins for himself and his clubs and that his career goals are to leave an impact on the game, win as many trophies as possible and leave an example to youngsters.
“Today’s outcome explains Pascal Ferre’s statements last week, when he stated that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Golden Balls than Lionel Messi, ” he wrote on Instagram.
“Pascal Ferre 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, justifying my absence from the Gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.
“I always want to congratulate those who win, within the sportsmanship and fair-play that have guided my career since the beginning, and I do it because I’m never against anyone.
“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 anyone.
“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.”
Ronaldo said he was now focused on performing well for his club Manchester United despite some difficult recent games and personal form and believes he can still achieve success this season.
“I will end by saying that my focus is already on Manchester United’s next game and on everything that, together with my teammates and our fans, we can still achieve this season.