Blatter's Ronaldo remarks prompt angry response

Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:04pm EDT
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By Iain Rogers

MADRID (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and Real Madrid have responded angrily to comments from FIFA president Sepp Blatter that appeared to make fun of the Real and Portugal forward.

Blatter, who was forced by the reaction to apologize while insisting he meant no disrespect, was asked at the Oxford University Union in England on Friday for his opinion on Ronaldo and Barcelona's World Player of the Year Lionel Messi.

The 77-year-old Swiss said they were both exceptional athletes but added that, unlike Messi, Ronaldo resembled "a commander on the field of play".

He then rose from his chair and strutted on the stage in military fashion in apparent imitation of the Portuguese.

"One (Ronaldo) has more expenses for the hairdresser than the other but that doesn't matter," he added to widespread laughter. "I cannot say who is the best, there will again be a contest this year - I like both of them but I prefer Messi."

Ronaldo, who was the last player to land the World Player award in 2008 before Argentine Messi won four in a row, posted a link to a video of Blatter's comments and a heavily ironic response on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

"This video shows clearly the respect and consideration that FIFA has for me, for my club and my country," Ronaldo wrote.

"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 favorite teams and players."   Continued...

FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the media after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013.REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann