It’s always fascinating to look at the breakdown of the votes and see who voted for who after every football awards ceremony.
FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award is voted for by national team coaches, coaches and a member of the media from each country. The player in first place is awarded five points, second place receives three points, and there’s one point for those in third.
The Ballon d’Or, on the other hand, is voted purely by one leading sports journalist from every country.
The Times’ Henry Winter represented England this year and voted for Virgil van Dijk in first place, followed by Lionel Messi (who won the award for a record-breaking sixth time), Cristiano Ronaldo, Raheem Sterling and Alisson Becker.
There was no place in Winter’s top five for Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, who managed to sneak into the overall top 10.
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Mahrez received 33 points, which was two more than 11th-placed Frenkie de Jong and three more than Sterling in 12th.
Here are the countries who included Mahrez in their top five:
Bulgaria (fifth), Algeria (third), Colombia (fourth), Saudi Arabia (fourth), Ivory Coast (third), United Arab Emirates (second), Lebanon (second), Japan (fifth), Kenya (fifth), Palestine (fifth), Serbia (fifth), Tunisia (fifth), Yemen (second), Turkmenistan (fourth).
In fairness to Mahrez, he did win the Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup with Man City - *plus* the African Cup of Nations with Algeria.
It’s hard to say that he doesn’t deserve to make the top 10, taking into consideration his achievements at both club and international level.
However, there were some very unusual choices from other countries.
You can see them all here...
Sri Lanka’s top five, in particular, has raised eyebrows.
They went for Trent Alexander-Arnold in first place, followed by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Antoine Griezmann, Robert Lewandowski and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
No Messi, Van Dijk or Ronaldo. Or Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappe or Alisson Becker, who finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh in the overall rankings.
Over in Guatemala, meanwhile, they went for Alisson in first spot, with Van Dijk, De Jong, Firmino and Salah occupying the spots between second and fifth.
It was no shock to see that Argentina’s journalist voted for Messi, Portugal’s for Ronaldo, Holland’s for Van Dijk, Egypt’s for Salah and so on.
Like FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award, it still feels a little bit like a popularity contest.
It was extremely close between Messi and Van Dijk, in first and second place, respectively.
Van Dijk received 679 points, while Messi took the prize with 686 points.News Now - Sport News