Xavi hits back at Cristiano Ronaldo for Ballon d'Or jibe

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When Xavi announced Cristiano Ronaldo as his favourite to win the 2016 Ballon d'Or, it seemed the pair's feud was finally at an end.

For weeks now they've been involved in a war of words that's seen Ronaldo mock Xavi for never winning the prize and vice versa for Ronaldo not being as good as rival Lionel Messi.

So, when Xavi claimed the Real Madrid star was likely to be named the world's best player for a fourth time, it came as a shock.


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Speaking in front of an audience at the Amsterdam Arena recently, he said: "Ronaldo has a big chance to win this year's Golden Ball having won the Champions League and the European Championship.

"But I also think it will be very competitive because there is [Lionel] Messi, of course."

Clearly surprised by his own honesty and kindness towards Ronaldo, Xavi sought to make amends by labelling the Portuguese as disrespectful following his recent Ballon d'Or jibe.

"I stand by what I said," he told Spanish media yesterday. "The problem for Cristiano is that there is another who is pretty much the best player in history.

"I saw that he didn't take it well, but I keep thinking the same. What he said to me about the Ballon d'Or is true. I didn't lack respect, but my opinion doesn't change.

"He lacked it for me. What do you think?"

Ronaldo will inevitably respond to Xavi's latest comments - but where did their bitter war of words originate?

It all started in an interview with Cadena SER, where Xavi was asked to compare Ronaldo and Messi and, predictably, hailed his former Barcelona teammate as the "best player in history".

"Ronaldo is a player of his time," he said. "The problem is that there is another who has been pretty much the best player in history.

"Ronaldo is extraordinary but compared to Messi, for me and for everyone who likes football, there can be no comparisons.

"Messi will be number one until he wants [to stop]. He's superior to everyone and is the best in the world, unless you are Real Madrid."

And here's how Ronaldo reacted: "Xavi is playing in Qatar or I don't know. Anyone who wants a front page talks about me.

"He has won it all, but never Ballon d'Or."

Never one to handle criticism very well, I think we can expect another scathing response from Ronaldo in the coming days.

It's worth questioning, though, what else he has on Xavi, who has won La Liga eight times, four Champions League titles and the World Cup once.

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