Lionel Messi has once again been crowned the greatest footballer on the planet after scooping the prestigious Ballon d’Or trophy.
Much to the fury of long-term rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who has accused organisers of ‘lies’ and “unacceptable behaviour.”
Messi was the favourite to win the trophy and he has collected the award at a ceremony at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris on Monday evening.
The award, presented by magazine France Football, is one of the game’s most revered individual prizes and Messi has now won seven to Ronaldo’s five.
Ballon d’Or was put on pause last year due to the Covid pandemic with Messi the last to win it in 2019.
And speaking ahead of Messi’s seventh win being announced – which was widely expected in the hours leading up to it – Ronaldo fumed at the outcome on Instagram.
He blasted France Football’s editor Pascal Ferre for his claims that Ronaldo’s “only ambition” was to win more Ballon d’Ors than Messi – something which looks next to impossible now the Manchester United star is 36.
Ronaldo wrote: ”Today’s outcome explains why 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.
“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.
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“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.
“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.
“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…”