Cristiano Ronaldo has hit out at the editor-in-chief of France Football, Pascal Ferre, over his claims about the Portuguese star's obsession with the Ballon d'Or and beating Lionel Messi. He said that the Manchester United footballer's life mission is to "retire with more Ballon d'Or awards than his Argentine rival."

The Portugal international has won the prestigious accolade given by France Football magazine on five occasions, but missed the top five cut in 2021. On Monday, Paris Saint-Germain star Messi was crowned the world's best footballer after he picked up his seventh Ballon d'Or trophy to move two ahead of his great rival.

Ferre, who was talking to New York Times ahead of the Ballon d'Or gala in Paris, spoke about Ronaldo and his "obsession" with winning more golden ball trophies than the Argentine magician. The football magazine's editor-in-chief suggested that his information came directly from the former Real Madrid ace.

"Ronaldo has only one ambition and that is to retire with more Ballon d'Or [awards] than Messi. I know because he has told me," Ferre told the New York Times.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo Getty Images

The 37-year-old four-time Champions League winner has come out and refuted the claims made by Ferre, while insisting that the comments were only made to create publicity for the event and promote France Football magazine. Ronaldo labelled Ferre a "liar" and made it clear that he only wins accolades for himself and clubs he represents.

"Today's outcome explains the comments by Pascal Ferré last week, when he stated that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Ballons d'Or than Lionel Messi," Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.

"Pascal Ferré lied and used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication that he works for. 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."

"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," the five-time Ballon d'Or winner added.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored seven goals in 10 matches since his return to Manchester United Oli SCARFF/AFP