With this year’s Ballon d’Or being cancelled by France Football, there was perhaps even more interest in FIFA’s ‘The Best’ ceremony on Thursday night.
As expected, Robert Lewandowski was the big winner as he claimed the main individual award.
Teammate Manuel Neuer won The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper award while Bayern Munich manager, Hansi Flick, narrowly missed out to Jurgen Klopp for The Best FIFA Men’s Coach.
However, the most interesting outcomes often emerge when the voting slips are revealed.
It usually throws up some pretty interesting tidbits. Contenders refusing to vote for each other with club and nation bias coming into play.
And this year is no different.
Therefore, we’ve decided to identify 13 of the most interesting outcomes when it came to the voting process.
Let’s take a look:
Cristiano Ronaldo actually voted for Lionel Messi
For the first time ever, Ronaldo actually voted for Messi for an individual award. In previous Ballon d’Ors and FIFA’s ‘The Best’, Ronaldo has always snubbed Messi for obvious reasons - they were going head-to-head for the actual award. Perhaps this year he didn’t see Messi as a direct rival. He went for Lewandowski as No.1, Messi second and Kylian Mbapee in third.
Lionel Messi’s ‘come and get me plea’ to PSG
Neymar first and Kylian Mbappe second? We all know the game you’re playing, Lionel…
Lionel Messi’s goalkeeper picks
Many believe that Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen is the best goalkeeper in the world. But his club captain doesn’t even think he belongs in the top three. We often see club bias and favouritism come into play during the voting but Messi went for PSG’s Keylor Navas as his top pic followed by Manuel Neuer and Jan Oblak as his top three.
Ethiopia captain’s vote
Bizarre, Ethiopia captain Gebeto Getaneh Kebede saw his 2nd pick discounted. FIFA state that his No.2 vote was “ineligible according to the Rules of Allocation.” Did he try voting for himself?
Robert Lewandowski’s vote
Lewandowski was robbed of the Ballon d’Or due to its cancellation and he wasn’t taking any chances when it came to FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award. That’s because he failed to name likely competitors Ronaldo or Messi in his top three. Instead, he went for Thiago, Neymar and Kevin de Bruyne. You can't blame him.
Virgil van Dijk’s vote
Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Thiago. Need we say any more?
India coach Igor Stimac’s vote
In similar scenes, Stimac is clearly a Liverpool fan with his three votes going to Mane, Salah and Van Dijk in that order.
Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos not voting for Ronaldo
Did Modric and Ramos not want their former teammate winning the award? Didn’t look like it… Modric went for Lewandowski, Ramos and Salah while Ramos went for Lewandowski, Thiago and …….
Sergio Ramos voting for Neymar
Which brings us on to our next point. Given the number of Real Madrid or Spanish players Ramos could have opted for, it’s perhaps a surprise that he found space to vote for Neymar in third. Is the Real skipper just trying to massage Neymar to convince him to move to the Spanish capital?
Scotland like Thiago
Okay, perhaps it’s not too surprising that Andy Robertson put Thiago in second place but so too did his national team manager, Steve Clarke.
England voting for Hansi Flick over Klopp
Captain Harry Kane, coach Gareth Southgate and journalist Martyn Ziegler all voted for Flick over Klopp as coach of the year, despite the German plying his trade in the country. Interesting.
Sri Lanka journalist replaced
We were devastated not to see Hafiz Marikar be given the Sri Lankan media vote. Previously, Marikar’s votes for the Ballon d’Or have been rather humorous. In 2017, his top five was Christian Bonucci, David de Gea, Radamal Falcao, Eden Hazard and Harry Kane. The following year, it was Eden Hazard, Roberto Firmino, Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane. And last year, it was Trent Alexander-Arnold, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Antoine Griezmann, Robert Lewandowski and Marc Andre Her Stegen. Instead, this time around for FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award, Anthony Neville went for Lewandowski, Ronaldo and Neymar. How boring.
Hugo Lloris keeping Mbappe’s feet on the ground
It would have been very easy for Lloris to give compatriot Mbappe a full five points. Instead, he stuck him in third to keep him grounded. Good move.News Now - Sport News