Football’s world governing body FIFA’s official World Cup account has been forced to delete two tweets that appeared to mock Cristiano Ronaldo.
Having been dropped by Portugal for their two knockout ties in Qatar after being showed the door at Manchester United in acrimonious circumstances, it did not appear as though the last few months could get much worse for Ronaldo.
However, his great rival for much of his career then achieved what neither of them had done: win the World Cup. This has led to football finding itself enthralled by Lionel Messi; the Argentine has now broken the record for the most liked Instagram post while he has also been declared the undisputed ‘greatest of all time’ (GOAT) by many.
Lionel Messi claimed the one prize that had otherwise evaded both him and Cristiano Ronaldo
Even FIFA appeared to have piled into the debate, with its official World Cup account posting two tweets that seemingly sought to elevate the Argentine above the Portuguese.
‘The GOAT debate is settled. The ultimate prize is now part of the collection. The legacy is complete,’ they initially tweeted, alongside a photo of Messi with the World Cup.
This was swiftly followed by a tweet accompanying a photo of Ronaldo with his thumb up, which read: ‘Thumbs up if you really enjoyed the FIFAWorldCup.’
FIFA posted – and then deleted – this tweet appearing to mock Ronaldo after Messi’s triumph
Messi claimed the player of the tournament award for the second time in his career alongside the World Cup itself
FIFA weighed in on the debate that has been raging for years about Messi or Ronaldo
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
FIFA deleted this tweet 😭 we know they rigged it all for Messi to win but still can’t flex pic.twitter.com/zOB9z2Ld1c
FIFA eventually deleted that shameless tweet after making it stay for almost 48 hours
Very classless of FIFA
We know they are corrupt, but the disrespect on the other players and fans is just appaling
They ought to apologise for this
The tweets came as Messi ended Argentina’s 36-year wait for a World Cup with a majestic series of performances in Qatar.
Some supporters on social media were less enthused by the post, however.
‘FIFA deleted this tweet after getting called out for being biased and receiving backlash,’ one pro-Ronaldo account wrote. ‘A professional account of the biggest football organisation in the world. It has always been Ronaldo vs the rigged system.’
Another accused FIFA of rigging the tournament, writing: ‘FIFA deleted this tweet. We know they rigged it all for Messi to win but still can’t flex.’
‘FIFA deleted tweet?’ another wrote. ‘From day one, we knew y’all never liked CR7. Ronaldo had to achieve everything he has the hard way. FIFA is not deceiving nobody.’
Another accused FIFA of being ‘shameless’ in their appreciation of Messi, suggesting the governing body does not feel the same way about Ronaldo.
‘FIFA eventually deleted that shameless tweet after making it stay for almost 48 hours. Very classless of FIFA,’ they wrote.
Messi was crowned player of the tournament – his second such award of his glittering career – with Ronaldo’s showings in Qatar paling into insignificance, having only scored one goal and generally looking largely anonymous throughout.
The Portuguese has remained silent on social media since Argentina’s World Cup triumph, leading to some to speculate over just how he feels about his long-time foe winning the prize that both of them craved.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Ronaldo is on the verge of agreeing a deal to join Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr on an eye-watering £173m per year over two years.
Ronaldo, 37, was left in tears at the World Cup after Portugal were knocked out by Morocco
However, it has been alleged that Ronaldo has tried to do everything in his power to remain at the top level. Frankfurt executive board member Axel Hellmann revealed he was even offered to them.
He told DAZN: ‘He was even offered to us,’ while Philip Holzer, chairman of the club’s supervisory board, added: ‘I have the feeling he was offered to every Champions League club.’
Ronaldo played the World Cup as a free agent having been released by the club prior to the tournament as a result of his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan in the days prior.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group