Lionel Messi’s father appears to respond to Cristiano Ronaldo as Ballon d’Or row escalates

Can N'Golo Kante win a Ballon D'or?

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Lionel Messi’s father, Jorge, appears to have fired back at Cristiano Ronaldo’s apparent swipe at the decision to hand Messi a record-breaking seventh Ballon d’Or.

Messi pipped Bayern Munich ace Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho to the coveted crowd, with Lewandowski finishing narrowly behind Messi in second spot.

Manchester United star Ronaldo finished in sixth spot – behind the likes of Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner snubbed attending the ceremony and commented on an Instagram post highlighting all of his achievements over the past year in query to his finishing position in the rankings, writing: “Facts.”

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But Messi’s father now appears to have fired back with a punchy Instagram message of his own in the wake of Ronaldo’s thinly-veiled dig.

Messi senior posted a picture of his son with the Ballon d’Or trophy, captioned with: “Bla bla bla… carry on.”

His comments are likely to be aimed at a number of people who have claimed Messi was undeserving of the trophy – with many believing he was handed the award for guiding Argentina to the Copa America trophy despite his subdued form at club level.

Ronaldo made headlines in the build-up to the ceremony when he publicly called out France football editor Pascal Ferre for claiming Ronaldo’s sole career goal is to “retire with more Ballons d’Or than Lionel Messi,” when speaking to The New York Times.

“Pascal Ferre lied and used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication that he works for,” Ronaldo wrote on social media.

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“It’s unacceptable for the person responsible for handing out such a prestigious award to lie in this way and to show disrespect to someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or.

“He lied again today to justify my absence from the ceremony due to an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.

“I always congratulate whoever wins, in tandem with the sportsmanship and fair play that have underpinned my career since the start and I do that because I’m never against anyone.

“I always win for myself and for the clubs that I represent. I win for myself and for those who love me. I don’t win against anyone.”

In the wake of his record-breaking triumph, Messi kept things classy in his winning statement and even admitted that Lewandowski was the undisputed winner of the cancelled 2020 gong – and that the Polish striker should still receive the honour.

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“You deserve your Ballon d’Or,” Messi said to Lewandowski in his speech. “Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that you were the big winner.

“It has been an honour to compete with you Robert, and you deserve your golden ball.

“Hopefully France Football will give it to you, we all know that you should have won it last year and hopefully they will give it to you and you can have it at home.”

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