Cristiano Ronaldo has slammed the Ballon d’Or as a “losing credibility” award, in a scathing attack on the prestigious prize.
The Portuguese superstar, who has won the Ballon d’Or five times, has been a vocal critic of the award in recent years. In an interview with Portuguese newspaper Record, he doubled down on his criticism.
“I think these awards are losing their credibility,” he said. “I don’t believe in them anymore. The numbers are there and the numbers don’t lie. They can’t take away my award as the world’s top scorer in 2023 because it’s real, and that makes me very happy because the numbers prove the reality.”
Ronaldo’s comments could be seen as a thinly veiled dig at Lionel Messi, who won the FIFA The Best award last month. Messi played his entire season in Major League Soccer, while Ronaldo scored 54 goals for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia.
“I’m used to it and I know how these organizations work,” Ronaldo said. “I honestly didn’t watch the Best Awards. Maybe some people say it’s easier to score 54 goals because I’m in Saudi Arabia. But footballers know how difficult it is to score goals anywhere. A goal is a goal.”
Ronaldo also said that he is no longer interested in individual awards.
“I always put my club and my national team first,” he said. “Individual awards come after a good season with my club and my national team. And honestly, I don’t think about it much.”
Ronaldo’s comments are likely to spark a debate about the future of the Ballon d’Or. The award has been criticized in recent years for its perceived bias towards European players.