Cristiano Ronaldo blasts ‘campaign’ against him

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo claimed he had to overcome media “campaigns” against him to win Fifa’s inaugural ‘The Best’ prize for the world’s best player.
Cristiano Ronaldo blasts ‘campaign’ against him

He lifted the award at a star-studded ceremony in Zurich on Monday after a glittering year on the pitch saw him lead Madrid to Champions League glory and captain Portugal to their first ever major international triumph at Euro 2016.

However, his year was blighted by reports in December that claimed a huge data leak involving 18 million documents showed the Portuguese hid €150m from image rights in the British Virgin Islands. Ronaldo, 31, has strongly denied all claims of wrongdoing.

“There were many doubts, many campaigns against me from inside and outside football,” he told Spanish radio station Cope. “They wanted to hit me from all sides and the truth is The Best was The Best and that is me, so I am very happy.

“They wanted me to feel bad, but as I have said ‘he who owes nothing, fears nothing in life’. As always, I have shut up a few mouths once again.”

The Spanish tax authorities have committed to investigating the allegations against Ronaldo and a series of other Spanish-based sports stars named in the “Football Leaks” investigation.

However, the four-time World Player of the Year insists he is calm and believes justice will be done in his favour.

“It bothers me because when you do things well, when you help a lot of people and I am going to mention the award for charity work, which is one of the best awards I have in my museum.

“I have helped so many people and you do so many good things, but people want to hit you to camouflage the bad things that others do.

“It bothered me and it continues to bother me, but justice is always done in the end and so we are going to wait and see what happens.”

Meanwhile, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique says he is fully behind his players’ decision not to attend the inaugural awards in Zurich in order to focus on tonight’s Copa del Rey clash with Athletic Bilbao.

Several members of the Barca squad were expected to be at the Fifa ceremony in Switzerland, including Lionel Messi who was in the three-man shortlist for the top men’s award.

However, Barca had issued a statement on Monday saying the players nominated would be instead focusing on preparations for tonight’s cup last-16 second leg against Athletic at the Nou Camp, where Barca will try to overturn a 2-1 deficit.

Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, and Luis Suarez, had all been named in the FIFPro World XI along with Messi.

Manager Enrique said: “There is a sporting situation that is more important. There are certain commitments the players must take into account. I back their decision 100%.”

Enrique expects an improved performance at the Nou Camp, when his side will be out to secure a first win in three matches.

“We have to be very effective, very precise, and improve our percentage of getting out with the ball and beating their pressure,” he said.

“The scoreline from the first leg makes for a very attractive game.”

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