November 1 – Cristiano Ronaldo took to Instagram to react to Lionel Messi’s record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or win, but the five-time recipient of the award refrained from extending social media congratulations to his long-time rival.
Instead, the 38-year-old, who has 610 million Instagram followers, liked and left a comment on a video that showed Tomas Roncero of Diario AS claiming that his fellow journalists had been wrong to vote for Messi.
The reaction encapsulates over 15 years of rivalry between the Portuguese star and Messi, with the former insisting that they have a good relationship.
Despite the ‘friendship’ between the two, Ronaldo has begun to react spitefully towards the Argentinian’s achievements, especially since his long time rival secured his sixth, seventh and now eighth Ballon D’Or.
Examples of previous behaviour include a high-profile interview with controversial host Piers Morgan, where he claims to be the greatest player of all time, alongside other occasions where he attempted to silence a crowd chanting ‘Messi’ by placing a finger to his lips.
Ronaldo was notably absent from this year’s Ballon d’Or 30-man shortlist despite a 28-goal return since signing for Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr in January. It was the first time in 20 years he had not made the shortlist.
In the post, Roncero attempts to debunk Messi’s eight Ballon d’Ors, claiming that only five were deserved. He added that Erling Haaland should have won the 2023 edition over the World Cup champion.
“Hello friends. What we knew has happened. They were going to give another Ballon d’Or to Messi,” said Roncero in the video.
“He went to retire at Miami, but he was already looking retired at PSG to prepare for the World Cup. He won the World Cup, yes, well, but with 6 penalties in their favour.
“The World Cup was 10 months ago, we’re in November. Messi has eight Ballon d’Ors. Well, he should have five – he has the Ballon d’Ors of [Andres] Iniesta and Xavi, [Robert] Lewandowski who won six trophies in one season and Haaland who was the top scorer of everything.”
Al Nassr skipper Ronaldo, 38, who last won the Ballon d’Or in 2017, reacted to the video by posting four laughing emojis. The Portuguese star also received the award in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
He has the second-most Ballon d’Or titles in history with five, behind Lionel Messi’s newly-updated tally of eight.
Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at firstname.lastname@example.org