'The Disrespect is Alarming': Ronaldo Pic In Underwear During Ballon d'Or Event Stirs Controversy

© REUTERS / TOBY MELVILLECristiano Ronaldo, playing for Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo, playing for Manchester United - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.12.2021
Cristiano Ronaldo, the 36-year-old Portuguese forward for England’s Premier League club Manchester United who has lifted the coveted Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) trophy five times in his career, was not present for the annual event in Paris on Monday, when his great rival Lionel Messi secured his seventh such trophy
While five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was a no-show at the 2021 ceremony, when Argentinian Lionel Messi scooped his seventh Golden Ball, a picture of the Portuguese striker during the event has riled up his fans.
The move by organisers to show a larger-than-life image of Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo alongside Didier Drogba, an Ivorian retired professional footballer best known for his career at Chelsea FC, in their underwear was branded “disrespectful” by some fans on social media.
The photo, taken by Vanity Fair magazine ahead of the 2010 World Cup, may have elicited giggles from Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Kylian Mbappe, but many both in the audience and online were furious.
Didier Drogba, who was presenting the show together with French journalist Sandy Heribert, questioned the call, asking "why"?
The footballer’s fans had already been struggling to take in the fact that their idol – widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time – had missed out on the Ballon d’Or’s top five for the first time since 2010. They were even more upset at this perceived “joke” at the expense of the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward.
The previous day, Cristiano Ronaldo hit out at France Football's editor-in-chief Pascal Ferre, who claimed that he had only one ambition, “to retire with more Ballons d’Or than Messi”. Ronaldo went on Instagram on Monday evening to accuse the man in charge of the Ballon d'Or for the last years of "lying" and using his name to "promote himself".
"It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, with absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d'Or,” said Ronaldo, according to a translation of the text written in Portuguese.
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