Cristiano Ronaldo misses out on Ballon D'Or nomination
Cristiano Ronaldo has missed out on being nominated for the men’s Ballon D’Or, football’s biggest individual prize, for the first time in 20 years.
The annual list of the world’s top footballers includes his long-time rival Lionel Messi – but Ronaldo’s move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr appears to have put him out of the reckoning for the award.
Meanwhile, Spain's Aitana Bonmati is nominated for the women’s prize after leading her country to World Cup glory in August. The ceremony is set to take place in October.
Ronaldo, who is training with Portugal ahead of a round of international fixtures this week, said: “Those who like Cristiano Ronaldo don't have to hate Messi and vice versa.
“We’ve done well, we have changed the history of football. We are respected all over the world, that's the most important thing.
“He’s followed his path and I have followed mine, regardless of playing outside of Europe. From what I’ve seen, he’s been doing well and so have I.
“The legacy lives on, but I don’t see the rivalry like that. We shared the stage many times, it was 15 years. I’m not saying we’re friends, I’ve never had dinner with him, but we’re professional colleagues and we respect each other.”
However, the 38-year-old’s army of fans on social media didn’t appear to see it that way.
One person pointed out that Ronaldo “remains the last Premier League player to win the Ballon D'or,” adding that this record was likely safe this year because of Messi’s “robbery expertise” when it comes to the award.
Another person said: “Most nominations in the history of Ballon D’OR: Cristiano Ronaldo 18 times, Lionel Messi 16 times. Remember. The one whom the system hates, is always the hero.”
And one other commented: “Ronaldo has never 1. Robbed a [European Champions League], 2. Robbed a World Cup, 3. Robbed a Ballon d’Or. Messi has done all three.”
Argentine Messi could win the award for a record eighth time this year after winning the men’s World Cup in 2022. His main challenger looks set to be Manchester City star Erling Haaland, who scored 52 goals in all competitions last season.