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The 36-year-old forward, who scored 46 goals in 59 games for club and country last season, was not present for the annual event in Paris on Monday as great rival Lionel Messi secured his seventh Ballon d'Or.
For the first time since 2010, the former Real Madrid and Juventus player did not feature in France Football's top three. Instead, Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho finished behind eventual winner Messi.
A picture to remember! :camera_with_flash: #ballondor pic.twitter.com/TkmJD53Kpn
- Ballon d'Or #ballondor (@francefootball) November 29, 2021
Ronaldo's no-show was a big talking point throughout. In fact, during the event, France Football's decision to show a picture of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner in a pair of briefs alongside Didier Drogba caused more debate online.
As you can see in the footage below, the likes of Robert Lewandowksi, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe were seen laughing when the image appeared on stage.
Drogba, who was presenting the show alongside French journalist Sandy Heribert, even asked "why" moments later.
Atleast he was present pic.twitter.com/diOMeLLuH6
- Sister Nkechi :heart::blue_heart: (@Nkjnr) November 29, 2021
The moment certainly caused controversy on social media.
It really is Ronaldo vs the world man the disrespect is alarming pic.twitter.com/ZwUCqYFW3R
- Diego (Fan) (@ronaldocomps) November 29, 2021
Unreal disrespect to show this during the ceremony. Even Drogba was asking why this was even shown. pic.twitter.com/apD27ZBi7n
- Xav Salazar (@XavsFutbol) November 29, 2021
Drogba once said "everyone knows Ronaldo is better than Messi but they can't admit that".
And they did this to him (including Cristiano)
Bro... the hate is just unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/ykuvAfTXSv
- Daish (@Daish732) November 30, 2021
They could have gotten a picture of Drogba in his boxers all by himself but they decided to show Ronaldo too..
Wo! This agenda get as e be..
Not hard to search for one pic.twitter.com/qo4mY35YBL
- #NFT Ξ Artist #MUFC :red_circle::fire: (@PrinceChrisMUFC) November 30, 2021
The way Ronaldo is being treated is so appalling to me, like why was there a need to show this?
Even drogba was like "why show this" pic.twitter.com/GG7iMa0vVC
- ranny (@ranny_ft) November 30, 2021
He also dismissed speculation that he did not attend the ceremony to quarantine because of COVID-19.
In an Instagram post on his official page, Ronaldo wrote: "Pascal Ferre said last week that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Golden Balls than Lionel Messi.
"Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for. 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. And he lied again today by justifying my absence from the Gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.
"I always want to congratulate those who win, with the sportsmanship and fair play that has guided my career since the beginning, and I do it because I'm never against anyone. I always win for myself and for the clubs I represent, I win for myself and for those who love me. I don't win against anyone.
"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.
"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."
Thoughts on the moment at Monday's night's Ballon d'Or ceremony?
Let us know in the comments.
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