Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has claimed teammate Cristiano Ronaldo has been ‘robbed’ of the Ballon d’Or award.
The Italy international said that Ronaldo deserved to win the award - handed to Lionel Messi this year - and also claimed Real Madrid ensured he didn’t win it in 2018, when Luka Modric was crowned instead.
The Portugal superstar joined the Bianconeri in a €100m deal from Madrid in the summer of 2018 - and he had won four of the previous five Ballon d’Or trophies, awarded to the world’s best player.
Ronaldo, 34, was not in attendance for the award ceremony in Paris on Monday night despite him finishing third on the podium - with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk ranked second.
The forward indeed did secure the award for being best player in Italy thanks to his 21-goal contribution and Scudetto success with Juventus last season - his first campaign with the Bianconeri.
“Ronaldo was really robbed of the Ballon d'Or last season, when Real Madrid decided to make sure he couldn't win it and that was really weird,” Chiellini is cited as saying by our sister site Football Italia.
“This season, it was more balanced. With all due respect, Modric even in his best season of his career didn't deserve it. That was a signal from Real Madrid, as they wanted to stop Ronaldo winning it.
“He won the Champions League, but by that logic, (Liverpool defender Virgil) Van Dijk should've won it this year, or last year (Antoine) Griezmann, (Paul) Pogba or (Kylian) Mbappe for doing extraordinary things at the World Cup. Modric made no sense.”
Ronaldo won four of his five Ballon d’Or gongs between 2013 and 2017 - when he won each year except for 2015, when he was pipped by long-term rival Messi, who has now won six titles to Ronaldo’s five.