Cristiano Ronaldo issues angry message minutes before Ballon d’Or ceremony
Cristiano Ronaldo has reacted angrily to reports that the only remaining ambition of his career is to win the Ballon d'Or more times than Lionel Messi.
Writing on the most heavily-followed social media account in the world, the five-time winner of the prize voiced his anger shortly before the 2021 ceremony began in Paris.
Some of the headlines have focused on purported quotes from Pascal Ferre, the editor of Ballon d'Or hosts France Football, suggesting that Ronaldo is desperate to overhaul Messi, the favorite to win his seventh honor on Monday.
"Pascal Ferre lied," Ronaldo raged for the benefit of his following of more than 371 million, accompanying his missive with a black and white photo of himself looking stern.
"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."
There had been speculation that Ronaldo would not travel to the showpiece, as he did when he was pictured with Messi and a plethora of fellow football superstars at the 2019 ceremony, because of the likelihood that he would not prevail.
"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," claimed Ronaldo.
"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 of 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.
"I will end by saying that my focus is already on Manchester United's next game and on everything that, together with my team-mates and our fans, we can still achieve this season. The rest? The rest is just the rest."
Expected winner Messi, second favorite Robert Lewandowski and other contenders including France prodigy Kylian Mbappe were pictured arriving at the awards shortly after Ronaldo's post.
Almost four million accounts had liked the outburst within an hour of the Portugal captain publishing it.