MADRID/ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has apologised for upsetting Real Madrid with light-hearted reference to Cristiano Ronaldo during his appearance at the Oxford Union last Friday.
Blatter, asked for his opinion in comparing the Portugal star with Barceona’s Leo Messi, was less than complimentary about Ronaldo.
The storm in a university teacup erupted because it came four days before both players were named, yet again, in the shortlist for the FIFA World Player awards. Ronaldo has grown increasingly sensitive about attending prize events only to take second place to the Argentinian on a regular basis.
He was not expected to attend the FIFA Gala in January even before the row over Blatter’s comments.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, having negotiated delicately and patiently to persuade Ronaldo to sign a long-term contract extension, wrote a furious letter to Blatter. In it Perez reminded Blatter that Madrid had been a founder member of FIFA and expected better of the world federation’s president.
Blatter responded quickly with a letter of apology, insisting that his remarks were light-hearted and not intended to cause offence.
Letter from the president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez to Joseph S Blatter:
We read with surprise the demonstrations made about our player Cristiano Ronaldo and his nomination for the Golden Ball and FIFA Player, it that has been a huge disappointment among the Madridista family, especially since these unfortunate and unacceptable manifestations come from the President of world football’s governing body.
On the one hand, they are unfair to a football player who millions of fans around the world, Real Madrid or no, they are proud. This is without doubt one of the best players of all time.
They are disrespectful towards him, on the other hand, embodies the values of sport in a society certainly in need of this kind of examples, and finally, we understand that your comments may influence the votes of those who have to decide on who should receive the award.
At Real Madrid, Club which has a special relationship with FIFA because as settlor, we are deeply disappointed by it all and, as President of Real Madrid want him record our disgust, it would be desirable rectification replenished, if it is possible damage to the player as to our institution.
Sincerely, Florentino Perez
Letter from the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, the president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez:
I have received your letter of today, the contents of which surprised me. Firstly, I would like to explain that in this ceremony held last Friday at the University of Oxford did not discuss the candidacy of players FIFA Ballon d’Or.
At the end of my presentation, and in response to a question about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the moderator asked me to choose between one of two and at that point, having said that Messi is the kind of son that every mother would like to have, finally gave its name.
However, I want to clarify that for me Cristiano Ronaldo is at the same level as Messi and they are both outstanding players, each in their own way. sorry that this situation produced in a university event hurt as much and I apologize for it.
It was never my intention to embarrass or disrespect to Real Madrid CF, or one of their players or their fans, not only for being the founder of the FIFA club but also for being the club that I follow and admire from my youth.
Sincerely, with a hug