Ballon d'Or and World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe slams Messi, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic for not doing enough to combat sexism and racism
Outspoken US football captain Megan Rapinoe has called out some of the world's top male footballers for failing to use their positions to address sexism and racism in the sport.
Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were all targeted by the 34-year-old, who was speaking to the Ballon d'Or organisation fresh from claiming their top prize in only its second year.
She said: "I want to shout: 'Christiano, Leo, Zlatan - help me!'
"These big stars do not engage in anything when there are so many problems in men's football."
The golden boot winner questioned why they did not become more involved: "Do they fear losing everything? They believe that, but it is not true.
"Who will erase Messi or Ronaldo from world football history for a statement against racism or sexism?" she added.
Rapinoe has been on fire both on and off the pitch of late.
After impressing at this summer's World Cup, she used the platform to voice her own messages on social injustice, inequality and how the sport can help represent the wider community.
She has also had an ongoing battle with US President Donald Trump, only this week calling him 'completely crazy' and praying that he is replaced.
Rapinoe is philosophical about the influence she can exert.
"On the one hand, I am a good player. On the other, my activity away from the pitch brings me support as people understand I am acting to find solutions to our society's problems. The idea is to empower others to speak louder.
"I have no fear, so I say what I say. Traveling all over for conferences and meetings exhausts me, but you have to be on the front line to improve things in our world."
In 2013, Ibrahimovic controversially told those who campaign for equality in football to "give up" and claimed that "you can't compare men's and women's football."