La Pulga won his eighth Ballon d'Or before beating Erling Haaland to The Best FIFA Men's Player prize. However, many fans believe Leo did not deserve any of those accolades.

Cristiano Ronaldo has always been a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and in a recent interview with Portuguese sports newspaper Record, the iconic attacker did just that when commenting on Lionel Messi's controversial Ballon d'Or and The Best FIFA Football Award wins.

The 38-year-old, who was not even nominated for those two prizes despite finishing as football's top scorer in 2023, called into question the credibility of the beautiful game's two most prestigious accolades, echoing the growing sentiment among fans.

While frustration with these two awards is not new, things reached a new height when Messi beat Erling Haaland to the Ballon d'Or and The Best FIFA Men's Player award for 2023 despite the Norwegian outscoring La Pulga and winning five trophies – the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup.

Ronaldo particularly took issue with his exclusion and questioned the decision to award Messi those accolades in all but words, highlighting his 54 goals for club and country in 2023 in comparison. That figure was more than what Haaland, Mbappe, and Kane managed to score in the recent calendar — albeit those three played in tougher European league.

"It's not to say that Messi didn't deserve it, or Haaland or even Mbappe… but the numbers are there and the numbers don't deceive. You have to consider the entire season," Ronaldo told Record.

"The numbers are facts. If you go back and see what happened at Manchester United and the national team, people actually considered me lost... But the truth is that I focused and had a great period at Al Nassr, that's why I scored 54 goals.

"As long as my head and body are fine, and I enjoy football, I will continue to play. Right now, I feel good, I feel fulfilled and happy on the field, both in the national team and at the club. I'm doing what I like most: goals and good performances."

Messi and Haaland were tied on points for The Best FIFA Men's Player Award with 48 each. However, the Argentine edged out the Norwegian superstar on a tiebreaker rule after garnering more points from the captains of men's national teams.

These individual accolades have long been labeled a popularity contest. Previous wins from both Messi and Cristiano, who dominated the podium for over a decade, have been questioned, with Leo's recent victories merely being the latest chapter.

La Pulga, who was not in attendance, is currently with Inter Miami on the club's pre-season tour ahead of the new MLS season. Messi's team kick off the new campaign on February 21 against Real Salt Lake.

Until then, however, the Herons will be involved in a number of friendly fixtures, including a showdown with Al Nassr in Riyadh on January 29 that will see Messi and Cristiano face off for the first team since their departure from European football. Here is a breakdown of when and where to watch Messi's Inter Miami live during their preseason.