By Iain Rogers
MADRID (Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) & Real Madrid have responded angrily to comments from FIFA president Sepp Blatter that appeared to make pleasant of the Real & Portugal forward.
Blatter, who was forced by the reaction to apologize while insisting he meant no disrespect, was asked at the Oxford University Union in England on Friday for his opinion on Ronaldo & Barcelona’s World Player of the Year Lionel Messi.
p> The 77-year-old Swiss said they were both exceptional athletes yet added that, unlike Messi, Ronaldo resembled “a commander on the field of play”.
He then rose from his chair & strutted on the stage in military fashion in apparent imitation of the Portuguese.
“One (Ronaldo) has more expenses for the hairdresser than the other yet that doesn’t matter,” he added to widespread laughter. “I cannot say who is the best, there will again be a contest this year – I like both of them yet I prefer Messi.”
Ronaldo, who was the last player to land the World Player award in 2008 before Argentine Messi won four in a row, posted a link to a video of Blatter’s comments & a heavily ironic response on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
“This video shows clearly the respect & consideration that FIFA has for me, for my club & my country,” Ronaldo wrote.
“Much is explained now. I wish Mr. Blatter health & a long life, with the certainty that he will continue to witness, as he deserves, the successes of his favorite teams & players.”
FPF president Fernando Gomes described Blatter’s remarks as “unfit & inappropriate.
“It was with surprise I watched & analyzed the words of Sepp Blatter approximately the captain of our national team,” Gomes said in a statement.
View gallery.”Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates after scoring a goal past Juventus’ goalkeeper Gianlu …
“I think the comments… show a clear lack of respect both towards Ronaldo & Portugal, a country that lives its football intensely.”
Gomes moreover said it was “inappropriate” that only a few days before Ronaldo was nominated as a candidate for FIFA’s World Player award on Tuesday, the head of soccer’s governing body expressed a preference for Messi, who is moreover a candidate.
“We sent FIFA a letter asking for the president to tell us what are the real intentions of his words since we do not understand how he could make such comments,” added Gomes.
Earlier, Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said club president Florentino Perez had written to Blatter to ask for clarification of remarks the Italian said showed “a lack of respect to a very serious & very professional player”.
Real after published Perez’s letter on their website (www.realmadrid.com), as well as Blatter’s reply.
The FIFA chief’s comments were “unfortunate & unacceptable” & had caused “enormous disappointment” to the club & their fans, Perez wrote.
Blatter’s admission that he preferred Messi over Ronaldo could moreover affect the voting for the World Player award, due to be announced in January, the construction magnate added.
Blatter, who moreover referred to Messi as “Leonard” during his appearance in Oxford, wrote in his reply to Perez that he had been surprised by the reaction.
“I want to make clear that for me Cristiano Ronaldo is at the same level as Messi & that the two are exceptional players, each in their own way,” he added.
“I regret very much that this situation arising from a university event is causing so much pain & I apologize for that. It was never my intention to annoy or show a lack of respect to Real Madrid, or one of their players or their fans.”
Ancelotti said he was “completely in agreement” with Perez.
“I haven’t spoken to Cristiano Ronaldo approximately it,” he told a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s La Liga home game with Sevilla. “He trained very well today, as always. He is showing every day he is a tremendous player & that he respects everyone.”
(Reporting by Iain Rogers in Madrid & Daniel Alvarenga in Lisbon, editing by Tony Jimenez & Ken Ferris)
Sports & RecreationSoccerCristiano RonaldoSepp BlatterReal MadridLionel Messi