Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric has seemingly criticised his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo for lacking “respect” by not showing up to the Ballon d’Or ceremony.
Croatian midfielder Modric, 34, made the comments after Lionel Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or on Monday 2nd December in the French capital Paris.
Modric spoke with local media after the ceremony and said: “I am very proud to be at the gala and handed the prize over to Messi who deserves it.
“Football is about respect and when you do not win you have to be there to celebrate it on days like today.
“I am here to celebrate football. I have awarded him the prize and congratulated him. I am happy to be here.”
Local media report the comments came as criticism towards Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence at the gala.
Ronaldo was reportedly in Calcio, Italy during the gala in Paris where he was receiving an award for best player of Serie A in the 2018/2019 season.
Modric then went on to compare football with other sports saying: “We are rivals but above everything there is respect.
“We have to enjoy football and that is it, like in other sports where there are great athletes who show respect to each other. We have to follow that attitude in football.”
The midfielder, who himself won the Ballon d’Or last year, went on to suggest the previous recipients of the award “come and award the prize to the new winner every year” saying “sometimes things are taken very far in football and this initiative can help to improve things.”
Modric went on to praise the Barcelona forward saying: “What Messi does is impressive when you see them (the six Ballon d’Ors) altogether.
“It does not look real but it goes to show that he is an impressive player, one of the best of all time and I tip my hat to everything he has done. We should congratulate him and that is it.”
Modric won the Ballon d’Or in 2018 after finishing runner-up in the 2018 World Cup in a 4-2 loss to France.
He was most recently awarded the Golden Foot this year which is awarded to players 28 years old and above for exceptional performance both individually and collectively.
Messi’s latest Ballon d’Or is his sixth marking the most any individual player has had in history and beating Ronaldo’s five. The Portuguese superstar finished third in voting for the Ballon d’Or.
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