FIFA has come under fire from Cristiano Ronaldo fans after appearing to take a dig at the Portugal superstar in a pair of since deleted tweets from their official social media account. Football's world governing body reacted to Argentina's World Cup win and Golden Ball winner Lionel Messi's incredible tournament by weighing in on the age-old debate about which player is the greatest of all time.
Rival fans have argued for years whether Ronaldo or Messi is football's GOAT - with those in the Portuguese superstar's camp pointing to his five Champions League titles and five Ballon d'Or trophies, not to mention the various goalscoring records he holds across Europe.
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Messi of course, has seven Ballon d'Or awards and four Champions League trophies, but his Copa America triumph with Argentina last year and World Cup victory with the national side in Qatar, have inevitably led to declarations from across the football world that he has now cemented his status as the greatest of all time.
That's certainly the view that FIFA's social media team appeared to take after posting in the wake of Argentina's World Cup victory: “The GOAT debate is settled. The ultimate prize is now part of the collection. On the day @Argentina won their third #FIFAWorldCup, Leo Messi is your @Budweiser Player of the Match.”
FIFA deleted this tweet… why would they do that? 🐸 ☕️ pic.twitter.com/Q09NHYBkbW
— M. (@MikhaeIII) December 20, 2022
The tweet left Ronaldo's legions of fans disgusted, with many arguing that the governing body should not be seen to be taking sides with any individual player. Ronaldo's fans have for years claimed that FIFA has been part of an agenda against the Portuguese, and the tweet was more than enough ammunition for his supporters to slam FIFA for their alleged bias.
FIFA also caused a separate stir after appearing to take another dig at Ronaldo by posting a photo of the 37-year-old smiling giving a thumbs-up, alongside the caption: “Thumbs up if you really enjoyed the #FIFAWorldCup.” Both tweets from the FIFA account have since been deleted in the wake of the mountain of backlash.
Football fans were left infuriated that FIFA would weigh in on the GOAT debate, labelling it a very "unprofessional" move from the governing body. Some accused FIFA of being rigged and biased and continuing to push what they claimed was an obviously pro-Messi agenda.
SPICE SPORTS NEWS.
Remaining impartial then, FIFA?
Governing body is blasted by fans on social media after deleting two tweets appearing to take shots at Cristiano Ronaldo with one declaring the 'GOAT debate settled' after long-term rival Lionel Messi's World Cup success. pic.twitter.com/jA6nrwXnYH
— SpiceFM 89.9 Hoima (@SpiceFMHoima) December 21, 2022
They have taken the post down.
Forget about being Messi fans or Ronaldo fans, FIFA was wrong by tweeting this. Leave the GOAT talk or debate or opinion to the fans and individual
This is one of the reasons some people believed FIFA are biased towards a player pic.twitter.com/6yjzFnuNgT
— Tripple A (@ABDULGAFARADEEY) December 21, 2022
Know this and end everything about the goat’s 🐐 debate… Ronaldo is the hardworking Goat and Messi is FIFA’s creation goat 🐐.✌️
— Javier_mcNoblegas (@mcnoblegas) December 21, 2022
FIFA deleted this tweet after getting called out for being biased and receiving backlash.
A professional account of the biggest football organisation in the world.
It has always been Ronaldo vs the rigged system. pic.twitter.com/KqEuRtEKj0
— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) December 20, 2022
The favoritism displayed by FIFA in that now-deleted tweet further corroborates our assumption of a rigged system against Ronaldo all along. We been know their bias ever since.
— Adewale Adetona (@iSlimfit) December 20, 2022
This deleted tweet by FIFA themselves made me realize Ronaldo is actually the GOAT 🐐😅 pic.twitter.com/7frgUy1RfZ
— T.A.G🏅 (@VitaminSIIIUUU) December 21, 2022
Ronaldo fans, how are you ?
I see lot of you are trying hard to console yourselves with .. "rigged" "fixed" and others to discredit Messi's Fifa World Cup win..
Keep it up.. Surely you all will be fine. Siuuuuuuuu 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
— POG (@potofgoldgh) December 21, 2022
Lionel Messi revels in World Cup triumph
Many thought this tournament might have been Messi's international swan song but the Paris Saint-Germain star insisted afterwards that he was keen to play on. “No, I’m not going to retire from the national team,” he said in a post-match interview. “I want to keep playing as World Cup champions in the Argentina shirt.”
The Argentinian maestro's World Cup victory sees join the ranks of all-time greats Diego Maradona and Pele by adding the final trophy that had eluded him in a truly exceptional career. It had taken five attempts and a record 26 World Cup finals matches, but the boy from Rosario now has his most coveted trophy.
"We suffer, but we already have it (the World Cup)," Messi said. "I wanted to close my career with this, I can no longer ask for anything else, thank God, he gave me everything. But I love football and I want to continue living a few more games being world champion."
Messi was front and centre for Argentina's incredible victory parade in Buenos Aires on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT), where fans came from all over the country to turn the capital city into a veritable sea of blue and white. Crowd figures were reported to be between four and five million people, with the wild scenes eventually bringing the open-top bus parade to a standstill due to safety concerns.
The players were unable to reach the city's central Obelisk monument as planned because of security concerns due to the size of the crowd. Many fans were seen stripping their clothes off and celebrating naked through the streets, while others were seen trying to jump off bridges and onto the top of the bus carrying the players. The players were eventually transferred from their parade bus to helicopters instead.
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