Cristiano Ronaldo has responded to Sepp Blatter's comments about his on-pitch style and personal appearance by appearing to suggest a FIFA-lead conspiracy against him, Real Madrid and the Portugal team.
A video of the FIFA president describing Ronaldo as having the style of an on-pitch "commander" who struts around -- and who also spends a lot of money on hair products -- emerged on Tuesday and angered Real.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez wrote to Blatter to call for an apology, and the FIFA president later responded in a letter published on Madrid’s official website.
Ronaldo -- or his social media team -- reacted to the original comments on both his official Twitter and Facebook pages, with messages linking to the video and implying that Blatter favoured certain players and teams over others.
This video shows the respect and consideration that FIFA has for me, my club and my country. Much is explained now http://t.co/PzcvbtBoCT— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) October 29, 2013
I wish Mr.Blatter health and a long life, with the certainty that he'll continue to witness the successes of his favourite teams and players— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) October 29, 2013
"This video shows clearly the respect and consideration that FIFA has for me, for my club and my country," the post on Facebook also said, echoing the comments about "his favourite teams and players."
Ronaldo has long been thought to be unhappy at missing out to Barcelona's Lionel Messi in the FIFA-organised Ballon D'Or competition, which Messi has won on the last four occasions.
Both players are on this year's 23-man longlist, but will face tough competition to even make the three-man shortlist, with their rivals including Franck Ribery, Philipp Lahm, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Neymar.
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
I am an honorary 'socio' at Real Madrid @cristiano & explained we've many talented players in world game, including you. Best wishes. (2/2)— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) October 29, 2013
Blatter's comments had come when he was asked whether he preferred Ronaldo or Messi during a talk with students at the Oxford Union Society. The 77-year-old got up from his chair to march across the stage in apparent mimicry of Ronaldo's running style.
"Messi is a good boy that every father and mother would like to have at home," he said. "Really, he is a good man, he is very fast and he is not exuberant, he is playing well, he is dancing, he is a kind man, really good.
"The other one [Ronaldo] is like a commander on the field of play… yeah, that's it. One has more expenses for the hairdresser than the other, but that does not matter.
"I cannot say who is the best. The [Ballon D'Or] list will be published, and then the public will make their choice. I like both of them, but I prefer Messi."
Earlier on Tuesday, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, speaking at a post-training press conference, said Perez had written to Blatter to complain about the comments and impersonation.
"It is a lack of respect for a very serious and very professional player," Ancelotti said. "I am with the president on this."
In his response, Blatter said: "At the end of my presentation, and in answer to a question about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the moderator asked me to choose one of the two. In this moment, having said that Messi is the type of son that all mothers want to have, I finally gave his name.
"However I wanted to leave it clear that for me Cristiano Ronaldo is at the same level as Messi and they are both exceptional players, each in their own way.
"I am very sorry that this situation hurt you so much and I want to apologise for that. It was never my attention to discomfort or lack respect for Real Madrid, any of its players or its fans, not just for being a founding club of FIFA but also for being a club I have followed and admired since my youth." He also tweeted an apology to Ronaldo.
Ancelotti told reporters he had not spoken to Ronaldo about the issue, adding: "He trained very well, as always. I believe he shows in all his games that he is a great player -- serious, professional and respectful to everyone. He must continue as he is, and nothing else."