Cristiano Ronaldo hits back at ‘lie’ after France Football boss stokes Lionel Messi rivalry

Ferré, who organizes the awards, spoke to the New York Times ahead of this year’s ceremony and reportedly revealed information from a private conversation with Ronaldo.

“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,” Ferré reportedly told the Times.

Ronaldo, who snubbed the event on Monday, posted a message on social media before Messi claimed his record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or, disputing what Ferré had claimed.

“Today’s result 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 Ballon d’Or trophies than Lionel Messi,” Ronaldo wrote.

“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 by justifying my absence from the ceremony with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.”

Pascal Ferré was not immediately available when asked for comment by CNN.

READ: Lionel Messi wins seventh Ballon d’Or, while Alexia Putellas wins her first women’s title

‘I always win for myself and for the clubs I represent’

The Ballon d’Or is voted for by 180 journalists and presented by France Football to the best men’s and women’s player of the year.

Ronaldo is now two awards behind Lionel Messi after finishing sixth in this year’s rankings. It was the first time he finished outside the top five since 2010.

He added: “I always want to congratulate those who win, within the sportsmanship and fair play that have guided my career from the beginning, and I do it because I’m never against anyone.

Cristiano Ronaldo benching for Manchester United causes fierce debate between pundits

“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.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.”

This year’s awards have sparked controversy with some questioning whether Messi deserved to win the award over runner-up Robert Lewandowski — who netted 53 times this calendar year, more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues.

There were also some who thought Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who was placed seventh, deserved to be ahead of Ronaldo.

Despite his side not winning a trophy last season, Salah scored 22 league goals and has started this year with some eye-catching performances.

Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and Euro 2020 with Italy, finished third.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas won her first Ballon d’Or title after the 27-year-old was instrumental in her side’s treble-winning season.

Her victory took center stage in Spanish media with Marca leading its coverage on her win, with the headline “Historic.”

Fellow Barcelona star Pedri also picked up the award for best young men’s player.

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