FIFA president Sepp Blatter recently visited Oxford University's debating society to vainly argue that he isn't a Bond villain. One of the questions he was asked was the most contentious one in modern football: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
"Lionel Messi is a good boy that every father, every mother would like to have," Blatter said in his rambling response, which was filmed and posted to YouTube. He then did a bizarre impression of Ronaldo, marching around like a cross between a T-Rex and a military commander before adding, "One has more expenses for the hairdresser than the other, but that doesn't matter." In the end, he finally admitted that he prefers Messi. And now Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid are both upset.
Ronaldo posted the video to his Facebook page, along with this message:
This video shows clearly the respect and consideration that FIFA has for me, for my club and my country. Much is explained now. I wish Mr. Blatter health and a long life, with the certainty that he will continue to witness, as he deserves, the successes of his favourite teams and players.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have already taken action. From the AP:
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti says club President Florentino Perez has sent a letter to Blatter asking him to ''rectify what I consider a lack of respect for a serious and professional player.''
After watching Messi beat him to the last four Ballon d'Or awards, these comments seem to have Ronaldo convinced that a conspiracy against him is afoot. And since this is FIFA we're talking about, it would hard to say with absolute certainty that he's wrong.
UPDATE: Blatter has apologized to Ronaldo via Twitter. But he mostly just attempted to slither out of being held accountable for his comments.
Dear @Cristiano. I apologise if you were upset by my light-hearted answer at private event on Friday. I never meant to offend you. (1/2)
— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) October 29, 2013
This is unlikely to make Ronaldo feel any better.
UPDATE II: Real Madrid have published their full letter of complaint to Blatter, as well as Blatter's letter back. Believe it or not, these letters are real and not something I made up.
Letter sent by the President of Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez, to Joseph Blatter at 12:23 p.m.
We were surprised to read your remarks concerning our player Cristiano Ronaldo and his chances of being crowned Ballon d'Or and FIFA Player of the Year winner; this has caused great disappointment among the Real Madrid family because these misguided and unacceptable comments were made by the President of World Football's leading Authority.
On the one hand, they are unfair because they are made about a player who is respected the world over by millions of fans, and not just Real Madrid supporters. He is undeniably one of the greatest footballers that the world has ever seen. The comments are also disrespectful to him as a person as, on the other hand, he embodies sporting values in the eyes of society which is in genuine need of the kind of example that he sets; finally, it is our understanding that your remarks may determine the vote of those whose responsibility it is to decide on the winner of this accolade.
We, at Real Madrid, a club which has a special connection with FIFA in view of our position as a founding member, are profoundly disappointed by the whole episode and, as President of Real Madrid, I want you to know that we condemn your comments, which is why we would ask that you retract them to make up, to the extent possible, for the damage caused both to the player and the institution that we represent.
Letter sent by the President of FIFA, Joseph Blatter, to the President of Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez, at 16:12 p.m.
I received your letter earlier today and was surprised by the content contained therein.
Firstly, I would like to point out that at the ceremony held last Friday at Oxford University, no discussions were held about the aspirations of any player with regard to the FIFA Ballon d'Or. At the end of my speech, and in response to a question about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the moderator asked me to choose between the two and, at that moment in time, having stated that Messi is the kind of son that any mother would like to have, I finally gave his name. However, I would like to make it quite clear that it is my opinion that Cristiano Ronaldo is at the same level as Messi and that both are extraordinary players, each in his own way.
I regret that this situation at a university ceremony has caused you so much distress and I would like to apologise for it. It was never my intention to cause discomfort or show a lack of respect to Real Madrid FC, one of it players or its support, not only because it is the founding club of FIFA but also because it is a club that I have followed and admired since I was a child.
The fact that Florentino Perez contextualized Blatter's comments as being about "Cristiano Ronaldo and his chances of being crowned Ballon d'Or and FIFA Player of the Year winner" is weird and clearly not what Blatter was asked about nor what he was saying. Although, the fact that Blatter thought it was a good idea to repeat his "Messi is the kind of son that any mother would like to have" line is equally weird. I'm sure many mothers would like to have a talented, wealthy and productive member of society like Cristiano Ronaldo as a son, as well.
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