'Perez was Messi's Ballon d'Or rival'
Posted: 10 December 2018 Time: 19:00
In the wake of Luka Modric ending the Ballon d'Or duopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, outspoken Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic has aimed made a bold statement about the decision.
Ronaldo was overlooked for the individual accolade as former Real team-mate Modric collected the prize in Paris on Monday night.
Modric's victory ended a 10-year dominance of the prize by Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi but his win did ensure a Los Blancos player had won it in five of the last six years.
Ibrahimovic, who played alongside Messi during his brief stint at the Camp Nou, has perhaps jokingly suggested that it was Perez competing for the prize with the Argentine and not Ronaldo.
"Now we know it was Perez who was competing with Messi," he said, according to Fox Sports.
Ronaldo himself admitted he felt he was hard done after missing out on a record sixth title.
"Of course I'm disappointed, but life goes on and I will continue to work hard," the 33-year-old told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"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?"