Manchester United and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has hit out at the organisers of the Ballon d'Or, who claimed his only goal was to win more Golden Balls than Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or five times in his career, but will not be in attendance at the ceremony in Paris on Monday night.
France Football editor Pascal Ferre had earlier claimed that the Portugal captain told him that it was his ambition to win more Ballon d'Or titles than longstanding rival Messi, who already has six to his name.
However, Ronaldo took to social media about an hour before the ceremony to express his displeasure with Ferre for lying.
"Today's outcome explains why Pascal Ferre's statements last week when he said that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Golden Balls than Lionel Messi," he wrote on Instagram.
"Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name for to promote yourself and to promote the publication you work for. It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d'Or. And he lied again today, justifying my absence from the Gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.
"I always want to congratulate those who win, within the sportsmanship and fair play that have guided my career since the beginning, and I do it because I'm never against anyone. I always win for myself and for the clubs I represent, I win for myself and for those who love me. I don't win against anyone.
"The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team in my country. The biggest ambition of my career is to be a good example for all those who are or want to be professional footballers. The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.
"I will end by saying that my focus is already on Manchester United's next game and on everything that, together with my teammates and our fans, we can still achieve this season. The rest? The rest is just the rest…"
Here are the seven frontrunners of the 2021 Ballon d'Or, including Messi and Ronaldo, per Goal