Cristiano Ronaldo finished sixth in the 2021 Ballon d’Or voting and was overlooked by a Portuguese journalist who failed to name the Manchester United man in his top five
Cristiano Ronaldo saw rival Lionel Messi claim a seventh Ballon d’Or this week, taking him two clear of the Manchester United star.
Ronaldo’s last Golden Ball came in 2017 and he finished sixth in this year’s gala.
Five men ranked above him as Robert Lewandowski, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Karim Benzema all accumulated more votes.
Coaches and journalists from countries around the world are allowed to pick their top five, with the respective votes then totted up.
That has led previously to national bias – but not in this case.
Portuguese journalist Joaquim Rita, who works for media outlet SIC, didn’t even list Ronaldo in his top five.
Lewandowski, the man who many people felt deserved the award following a phenomenal two years, was his second vote.
Rita did, notably, also overlook Messi as Kylian Mbappe, Jorginho and Mo Salah rounded out his five picks.
Ronaldo himself was involved in a war of words with France Football editor Pascal Ferré, who claimed the Portugal star’s “sole ambition” was to claim more Ballon d’Ors than Messi.
The United man took issue with that and called him out for lying.
He said: “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.”
Messi did manage to see off the challenge of Lewandowski and win the award once more.
The Argentine left his beloved Barcelona in the summer after financial issues at the Nou Camp and headed to PSG.
It was his efforts on the international stage though that really helped his case as he led Argentina to a first Copa America since 1993.
The success was also Messi’s first international trophy – something that had previously always been held against him.
Upon receiving the Ballon d’Or the 34-year-old called on France Football to retrospectively hand Lewandowski a Golden Ball for his efforts last season.
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The Poland international enjoyed a record breaking campaign having led Bayern Munich to the treble.
However the pandemic saw the award scrapped with organisers questioning how valid the results would be.
Messi though was in no doubt that Lewandowski would’ve scooped the gong.
He said: “Robert, you deserve your Ballon d’Or. Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that you were the big winner of this award.
“Hopefully France Football will give you the 2020 Ballon d’Or. We all believe you deserved it and I hope you can have it at home.”