Cristiano Ronaldo’s greatest ambition is to retire having won the Ballon d’Or more times than his long-time rival Lionel Messi, according to the chief of the award Pascal Ferre, who hands out the trophy every year.
Ronaldo is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and has been nominated the most with a record 17 times but remains one behind Messi, who has won six times.
The Argentine is tipped to be the frontrunner for this year’s award, which would take his tally to seven, but Ferre revealed Ronaldo is desperate to top his arch-rival, Messi.
‘Ronaldo has only one ambition and that is to retire with more Ballon d’Or than Messi and I know because he told me,’ Ferre said, via Marca.
Ahead of the ceremony next Monday, this year’s winner was reportedly leaked earlier this week with Messi scooping up the coveted accolade once again, via talkSPORT.
Karim Benzema, who was found guilty in his sex-tape blackmail case this week, has reportedly come in second, while Robert Lewandowski finished third.
Messi won the award at the last ceremony in 2019, while Ronaldo has not secured the prize since 2016. The PSG forward was preceded by Luka Modric, who, according to Ferre, ‘cried like a child’ when he called to tell the Croatian he had won.
The French journalist believes revealing the winner at the gala is part of the magic of the award which is why their identity must be kept secret until the deal day.
‘We are very careful. The winner of the Ballon d’Or is a big secret. I don’t think there is a comparable situation in sport,’ he said.
Ronaldo was in the running this year, making the 11-man shortlist, but is not considered a favourite after his poor performance last year.