Ronaldo: "Brazilian football is maybe in the worst period of its history"
Following the announcement that Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta will compete for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or, Brazilian icon Ronaldo delivered a stinging judgement on his country's footballing affairs.
Ronaldo, who is on the local organising committee for the 2014 World Cup, believes that Brazil's lack of representation - with only Neymar, Marcelo and Thiago Silva nominated for the Team of the Year - is an indication of the slump in which Brazil currently find themselves.
"It confirms what I have been saying. Brazil are in a rut," Ronaldo said. "Brazilian football is maybe in the worst period of its history. But, we must not forget that Spain have done extraordinary things.
"It is a moment of reflection for Brazilian football, but I believe we will soon have representatives once again."
When asked about the comments of the former striker, FIFA president Sepp Blatter merely added: "He has his reasons".
The last Brazilian to make the final 3 nominees for the FIFA World Player of the Year was Kaká, who topped the vote in 2007.
Ronaldo himself won the award three times and finished in the top three places on five occasions between 1996 and 2003, while between 1994 and 2007, a Brazilian won the award on eight occasions - five clear of second placed France and Argentina with three wins apiece.