Sunday 21 January 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo slates Barca hero Xavi: 'I don't care what he says, he's never won the Ballon d'Or and plays in Qatar'

Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: PA Wire
Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: PA Wire Newsdesk Newsdesk

Cristiano Ronaldo mocked Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez for never winning the Ballon d'Or, after the Spaniard said Ronaldo was unlucky to be playing in the same era as Lionel Messi.

Xavi, who now plays for Al Sadd in Qatar, told Spanish radio station La SER earlier this week that despite his achievements Ronaldo couldn't come close to matching those of Xavi's former Barca teammate Lionel Messi.

"Only a fool could have played football and not recognise Cristiano is an elite footballer," said Xavi. "But he just has had bad luck to be around at the same time as Leo.”

Ronaldo responded with interest after Real Madrid's 5-2 La Liga win over Osasuna on Saturday, labelling Xavi's comments as irrelevant.

"I am the most searched for player on the internet," said Ronaldo, who scored six minutes into his Madrid return after a two-month injury layoff.

"When players, coaches want to appear on the front pages they talk about Cris, it is normal," he said. "What do I care what Xavi says?

"Xavi plays in Qatar, it doesn't have any relevance. Xavi has won everything, the World Cup, European Championships...and he has never won the Ballon d'Or."

By contrast, Ronaldo is favourite to beat out Messi to his fourth Ballon d'Or in January after lifting both the Champions League with Madrid in May and then ending Portugal's drought without a major tournament win at Euro 2016.

The brlliant Xavi Hernandez went out on a high in his final game for Barcelona

Madrid are expected to announce a major contract extension for Ronaldo before the month is out with a one-year transfer ban looming over the European champions for the next two windows.

And the 31-year-old called on Real president Florentino Perez to extended his deal for a decade to ensure he ends his career at the Bernabeu.

"If I was the president of Real Madrid and I had a player like me, I would renew him for 10 years at least," added Ronaldo.

"Everything is on track. I am not worried and neither is the president.

"Right now I don't see anything that can happen to prevent me ending my career at Real Madrid. As I said before, I want to be at this club for a long time because it is the biggest club in the world and it has to have the best players."

Ronaldo was withdrawn by coach Zinedine Zidane just after the hour mark. However, he rejected suggestions he will take more time off to rest this season and prevent a recurrence of the knee injuries that have plagued him towards the end of the campaign in recent years.

"I have already rested," he said, after missing Madrid's first three games of the season. "Now I have to play."

"I feel good. I could have played the 90 minutes without any problem.

"The truth is I started a bit warily which is normal after a serious injury, but I feel good, without pain and getting back to full fitness."

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