Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo hit back at Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez by mocking the Spaniard’s inability to the win the Ballon d’Or and claiming he is the most in-demand player on the planet.
Xavi, who now plays for Al Sadd in Qatar, told Spanish radio station La SER earlier this week that despite his achievements Ronaldo couldn’t come close to matching those of Xavi’s former Barca teammate Lionel Messi.
“Something was released the other day online that said I am the most searched for player on the internet,” said Ronaldo, who made a goalscoring return from a two-month injury layoff in Madrid’s 5-2 win over Osasuna on Saturday.
“When players, coaches want to appear on the front pages they talk about Cris, it is normal. What do I care what Xavi says.
“Xavi plays in Qatar, it doesn’t have any relevance. Xavi has won everything, the World Cup, European Championships…and he has never won the Ballon d’Or.”
By contrast, Ronaldo is favourite to beat out Messi to his fourth Ballon d’Or in January after lifting both the Champions League with Madrid in May and then ending Portugal’s drought without a major tournament win at Euro 2016.
Madrid are expected to announce a major contract extension for Ronaldo before the month is out with a one-year transfer ban looming over the European champions for the next two windows.
And the 31-year-old called on Real president Florentino Perez to extended his deal for a decade to ensure he ends his career at the Bernabeu.
“If I was the president of Real Madrid and I had a player like me, I would renew him for 10 years at least,” added Ronaldo.
“Everything is on track. I am not worried and neither is the president.
“Right now I don’t see anything that can happen to prevent me ending my career at Real Madrid. As I said before, I want to be at this club for a long time because it is the biggest club in the world and it has to have the best players.”
Ronaldo scored just five minutes into his return on Saturday before being withdrawn by coach Zinedine Zidane just after the hour mark.
However, he rejected suggestions he will take more time off to rest this season and prevent a recurrence of the knee injuries that have plagued him towards the end of the campaign in recent years.