Cristiano Ronaldo has criticised France Football after their editor-in-chief stated the Manchester United forward’s priority is to retire with more Ballon d’Or awards than Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo and Messi are both on the shortlist for the prestigious award, which is returning after it was scrapped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both players have made the top 10, with the players ranked from 30th to 11th having already been confirmed. Messi is expected to vie with Robert Lewandowski for the accolade.

While Messi is bidding to win a seventh Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo has five to his name. However, earlier this week, Pascal Ferre, the editor-in-chief of France Football, the organisation that runs the award, claimed the Portugal star had told him that his ambition was to retire having won the prize on more occasions than his Argentine counterpart.

Ronaldo was not in attendance at Monday’s awards ceremony and, just before the celebrations started, the 36-year-old insisted Ferre’s claims were false, while also claiming the journalist had fabricated a story of Ronaldo having to isolate as to the reason why he had not made the trip to Paris.

“Today’s outcome explains Pascal Ferre’s statements last week, when he said that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Ballon d’Or than Lionel Messi,” Ronaldo posted to his official Instagram account, possibly suggesting he already knew who the winner would be.

“Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for. And he lied again today by justifying my absence from the Gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.

“It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team in my country.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to be a good example for all those who are or want to be professional footballers.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.”

Ronaldo concluded his post by saying: “I will end by saying that my focus is already on Manchester United’s next game and on everything that, together with my team-mates and our fans, we can still achieve this season. The rest? The rest is just the rest…”

Ferre and France Football have yet to respond to Ronaldo’s comments.