Cristiano Ronaldo has hit back at the editor of France Football on the night his eternal rival Lionel Messi won a record extending seventh ballon d’Or.
The Portuguese, who has won the prestigious accolade five times, took to social media on Monday to refute the claims made by Pascal Ferré, who told the New York Times ahead of the 2021 awards that the Manchester United forward’s only ambition is to “retire with more Ballons d’Or than Lionel Messi”.
Ferré told the New York Times: “Ronaldo has only one ambition and that is to retire with more Ballon d’Or [awards] than Messi. I know because he has told me.”
However, Ronaldo has disputed that version of events and took to Instagram to claim that Ferré “lied” during the interview.
“Today’s outcome explains the comments by Pascal Ferré last week, when he stated that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Ballons d’Or than Lionel Messi,” a Ronaldo statement said.
“Pascal Ferré lied and used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication that he works for. It’s unacceptable for the person responsible for handing out such a prestigious award to lie in this way and to show disrespect to someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or. He lied again today to justify my absence from the ceremony due to an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.
“I always congratulate whoever wins, in tandem with the sportsmanship and fair play that have underpinned my career since the start and I do that because I’m never against anyone. I always win for myself and for the clubs that I represent. I win for myself and for those who love me. I don’t win against anyone.”
Ronaldo, who finished sixth in the award and missed the event in Paris, added: “My biggest ambition in my career is to win trophies at club and international level, for the clubs that I play for and my national team. My biggest ambition in my career is to set a good example for everyone who is or wants to be a professional footballer. My biggest ambition in my career is to have my name written in gold in world football history.
“I’ll finish up by saying that my focus is already on Manchester United’s next game and everything that we can still achieve this season alongside my teammates and our fans. As for the rest, the rest is just that…”