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Ronaldo rips Ballon d’Or, jabs Messi

CRISTIANO Ronaldo says he was disappointed not to win the Ballon d'Or and claimed the "numbers do not lie" after being beaten to the award by Luka Modric.

The 33-year-old, who joined Juventus this season, finished second in the voting behind his former Real Madrid teammate.

Ronaldo has won the award five times, the same as Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, and picked up the prize in 2016 and 2017.

However, Modric was named this year's winner after helping Real Madrid win the Champions League last season and guiding Croatia to the World Cup final in the summer.

But Ronaldo believes he deserved to win it for a sixth time. "Of course I'm disappointed, but life goes on and I will continue to work hard," he told the Italian press.

"On the pitch I've done everything to win the Ballon d'Or, numbers do not lie, but I'm no less happy if I do not win, I have wonderful friends and a family, I play in one of the best clubs.

"Congratulations to Modric, who has earned the award, but next year we will meet again and I will do everything to win the prize again. Do you think I'm going home and crying?"

Modric also received the best men's player prize at the FIFA Best awards in September.

Ronaldo has scored 11 goals in all competitions this season for Juventus, bringing his career total to 584.

Meantime, Ronaldo has also taken a jab at Messi, saying he hopes he "accepts the challenge like me" and leaves Spain to play in Serie A.

The 33-year-old joined Juventus after nine years at Real Madrid, where he won two La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.

During his time at the Bernabeu, he and Messi went head to head constantly for team and individual awards, with their 10-year dominance of the Ballon d'Or only being broken this year by Modric.

Messi has spent his entire career at Barcelona but Ronaldo has now urged the Argentine to leave the Nou Camp and join him in Italy, suggesting the 31-year-old perhaps "needs" him.

"I'd like him to come to Italy one day. I hope he accepts the challenge like me, but if he's happy there then I respect that," Ronaldo said.

Asked if he missed Messi, Ronaldo replied: "No, maybe it's him who misses me. I've played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal and for my national team, while he's still in Spain.

"Maybe he needs me more. For me, life is a challenge, I like it and I like to make people happy. He's a fantastic player and a good guy, but I don't miss anything here. This is my new life and I'm happy.

"I left my comfort zone and took on this challenge here in Turin, everything has gone well, I've proven I'm still an incredible player."

Ronaldo says he is absolutely convinced he made the right decision to leave Real Madrid for Turin in the summer but admits different clubs were interested in signing him.

"I had different options. I won't say which but I had them. Juventus is a solid club. It has a long history," he said. "I knew the atmosphere in the stadium. I'd played several times in Italy. I like the city, the people and the club. I knew it could work.

"I couldn't be 100 per cent sure I was joining the best club in the world. After nine years at Real Madrid it was difficult to compare. Now I'm 100 per cent sure it was the right option."

This article was originally published by Sky Sports and reproduced with permission