Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted his full focus remains on Manchester United having snubbed the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris on Monday night.
Lionel Messi is expected to be crowned the world’s best footballer by France Football, which would give him two more Ballon d’Ors than Ronaldo has won.
It means the week has gone from bad to worse for Ronaldo, who was dropped to the bench for United’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday, with the Red Devils claiming a surprise point.
The Portuguese superstar had looked unhappy with that decision and stormed straight down the tunnel after referee Anthony Taylor blew the final whistle at Stamford Bridge.
That game could be the last of Michael Carrick’s spell as caretaker boss, with Ralf Rangnick having been appointed as United’s interim manager until the end of the season on Monday.
Rangnick is awaiting the green light on his work permit before he is allowed to take over at Old Trafford.
One of the challenges facing the German will be how to get the best out of Ronaldo in a way that also allows United as a whole to be successful.
If his permit is approved in time, Rangnick could be in charge for the Premier League clash with Arsenal on Thursday.
That is a game that Ronaldo has insisted has his full focus as he released a statement on social media on Monday.
The 36-year-old was hitting back at France Football’s editor in chief Pascal Ferre, who had claimed Ronaldo had told him the only ambition in his career was to win more Ballon d’Or trophies than Messi.
His statement was also a message to Rangnick that the German does not have to worry about his commitment to United, despite his surprise dropping on Sunday.
“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,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.
“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…”
Ronaldo also took the opportunity to fire back at Ferre, insisting that he had lied about both Ronaldo’s ambitions and the reasons for his decision to shun the 2021 ceremony.
“Pascal Ferré lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for,” he added.
“It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way.
“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, within the sportsmanship and fair-play that have 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.”