Cristiano Ronaldo hits back after Fabio Paim says he could’ve been as good as him and Lionel Messi
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Cristiano Ronaldo has delivered a telling response to Fabio Paim after the former Sporting Lisbon winger made a number of bold claims on a recent podcast.
Paim has openly admitted to being "overwhelmed" by the lifestyle and expectation that came with being a professional footballer.
Growing up, a host of top European clubs were interested in his signature, including Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, who would all regularly attend games he featured in.
A loan move to Premier League side Chelsea was agreed ahead of his 20th birthday thanks, in part, to his former agent Jorge Mendes.
Sadly though, the Estoril-born forward faded into obscurity following a forgettable spell at Chelsea that featured several appearances at youth level.
He would later play in Qatar with Al Kharaitiyat SC before spells in Luxembourg, Malta, Lithuania and his native Portugal.
Paim recently opened up on watching former Cristiano Ronaldo from the window of his prison cell as they trained ahead of Euro 2020.
And a month after that interview, Paim made some further comments about the former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward.
Speaking on a podcast hosted by PT Clipes, Paim claimed he would be on par with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in terms of career achievements if he had "half of Cristiano's head".
He then made a rather bold comment about the Ballon d'Or trophy.
"Cristiano Ronaldo should offer me one of his Ballon d’Ors," Paim said. "I went to Sporting when I was seven years old, I grew up there. They were years of glory in which I won everything I could.
"I didn't reach where I could have reached, but I marked a generation. If people don't forget it's because I marked them."
Paim went on to explain his Ballon d'Or comment. "I said when I was happy that I thought Cristiano Ronaldo could offer me a Ballon d'Or, but it was with humility," he added.
"If I had half of Cristiano's head, it wouldn't be him and Messi, It would be me, him and Messi and maybe he wouldn't have won the Ballon d'Or that he has. Maybe one of them was mine."
Ronaldo has since responded to those claims on Instagram by commenting on the podcast clip. He wrote: "Wtf. 👀👀👀who is this guy?"
Back in October, Paim gave a fascinating insight into his playing days.
“I was really special. I must be humble but this is the truth," he told The Sun. “Unfortunately back then there was not Instagram or Facebook, nothing was recorded like nowadays but I strongly and honestly believe that until today there was no other like me with the same quality I had.
“Cristiano, for all his effort and hard work, went to a level he deserves. But when I was playing, if I had the same effort and commitment, I would be better than him. If I speak about technique, I was better. I was a small Ronaldinho. But as we can see, it's not the technique that leads us to wherever.
“But yes at that time I was better than Cristiano. I believe he should give me one of his Ballons d'Or!”
Paim added: “Unfortunately for me, I was born with talent. As I was earning lots of money, I got the illusion I didn't need the effort. It is impossible for a person like me to be a millionaire.
“I regret some of my choices. Now I'm at a different age so can see the picture differently. The talent was there but my mind wasn't. My head was on women and partying, everywhere else apart from football.
“I played some matches but my body was not in its best shape and didn’t respond to what people were demanding from me because if I could, I would have been at Barcelona or Real Madrid.”