Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't wish to discuss how Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball at the World Cup in fear of receiving a call from the police.
The Real Madrid striker was crowned UEFA's Best Player in Europe on Thursday, per BBC Sport, but he decided to remain quiet when asked about Messi's personal triumph at the World Cup. Many were surprised by FIFA's recognition of the Argentinian, who posted a solid four goals without finding his best form in Brazil.
Players such as Manuel Neuer and James Rodriguez were arguably more deserving, something Ronaldo hinted at with his comments. When asked about Messi, CR7 managed to say so much through so little, as tweeted by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:
Ronaldo asked last night on Portuguese TV why Messi won WC Golden Ball "I cant be honest. If I said everything I think, I'd be in prison."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 29, 2014
Ronaldo spoke to Portuguese channel TVI in an interview broadcast after his award win, where he indicated football's governing body may have had an agenda when giving Messi the Golden Ball. When asked why Leo came away with the recognition of an individual trophy, he alluded to questionable activity, per ESPN FC:
"Everyone can see, make their own judgements, the people in the world of football are intelligent. It would be a very interesting question for him. I cannot be honest about it."
Some suggest Messi won the award due to it being sponsored by Adidas, per Hannah Duncan of Metro. He is a key athlete in their marketing push and is their "main poster boy," according to Duncan, leading many to believe his win was something of a farce.
Did Lionel Messi deserve to win the Golden Ball award at the 2014 World Cup?
Prior to Ronaldo's latest comments, the Portuguese star played down his personal rivalry with Messi, saying the pair are "colleagues" and "work friends," per Miguel Serrano of Marca. Although he admitted there is a "degree of rivalry" between what they manage on the pitch, the former Manchester United star generally spoke in a respectful manner about the Barcelona forward.
Ronaldo doesn't come across so courteously during the interview with TVI, in which he remains honest. He suffered a difficult World Cup after battling through injury problems toward the conclusion of his club season, which saw Madrid capture the fabled Decima.
Portugal crashed out of the group stages with a single win in Brazil. Ronaldo managed one goal and an assist during his three games against Germany, the United States and Ghana, per WhoScored.com. He appeared less mobile than usual and lacking a yard of pace in a team which didn't offer him the same quality of service as Los Blancos.
Messi's quartet of goals and one assist played a major role in seeing Argentina through to the final, despite his quietness through many matches. Without his contributions, the South American side wouldn't have progressed beyond Iran, Nigeria and Switzerland.
While he wasn't the tournament's best player, it is right to mention him among the most important. Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier believes he "fully deserved" the prize, despite public outcry, per ESPN.
Comments from either Ronaldo or Messi on the other player often cause a stir without needing to, but it certainly seems there's an undertone to what Ronaldo is saying. Some may pinpoint jealously, many will brush over it and others will hope the Real Madrid man cracks by revealing his true feelings.