Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world's most successful footballers, and arguably the greatest, according to his millions of fans globally.
But the Portuguese superstar is being cheated on some deserved accolades by a ‘football mafia’, according to his mother.
Alongside Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, the Juventus forward has been at the top of the game for over a decade, winning a plethora of personal titles during his illustrious club career.
The 34-year-old guided Portugal to a first major title at Euro 2016 in France and also lifted the inaugural Nations League on home soil in 2019.
However, last year, Ronaldo lost out on the Ballon d'Or title to his former Real Madrid teammate, Luka Modric, a miss that meant Ronaldo and Messi both remained tied on five Ballon d'Or each.
Ronaldo's mother, Dolores Aveiro, has now spoken about the awards last year, suggesting that her son has not been given the recognition he deserves.
According to Dolores, being from the Portuguese Island of Madeira counts against Ronaldo because there are dark forces keeping him from winning even more titles.
“There is a mafia. That’s the right word to define it. Yes, there is a mafia in football,” she told the Portuguese newspaper, A Bola.
“If there wasn’t a football mafia, my son would have more [individual] international trophies. If you see everything that happened, you will realise that it is the mafia.
“If he was Spanish or English they would not do what they did to him. But since he’s Portuguese and from Madeira… well, this happens."
Ronaldo is one of the 30 shortlisted nominees for this year's award alongside Messi and Liverpool stars, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane, who are also seen as top contenders.
But his mother feels the former Manchester United man deserves to win it again, assuming the ‘mafia’ do not intervene.
“I don’t know if he will get it, but I am confident. I think he deserves it if we analyse what he did during the season,” she added
Ronaldo's mother isn't the first member of his family to blame the ‘football mafia’ for undermining his efforts, as his sister, Elma, made similar claims last year.
“Unfortunately this is the world we live in, rotten, with mafia and f******g money,” she posted on her Instagram page after Modric beat Ronaldo to the award.
“The power of God is a lot greater than all this rottenness. God takes his time but he doesn’t fail.”