Lionel Messi was named FIFA Best Men’s Player this week but several voters have since come forward to claim that they didn’t cast their ballots for the Barcelona man, despite it appearing as if they did.
Messi beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk to the award at Monday’s bash, though the Argentine’s victory was met with surprise in some quarters after many analysts had predicted that Van Dijk’s defensive dominance en route to Liverpool’s Champions League victory would be enough to secure him the prize. Others noted Ronaldo’s debut season at Juventus as placing him in serious consideration for the top prize.
However, Messi’s win has been thrown into controversy after a number of voters claimed that their selections were misrepresented.
The Egyptian football association claim that they sent in their votes four days before the August 19 deadline but have said that the choices of coach Shawki Ghareeb and captain Ahmed Elmohamady, who put Salah first, were not recorded.
They are not mentioned within FIFA’s list of of the official votes and have asked football’s governing body for clarification as to the reasons for this.
Logarusic has reportedly posted a photograph which appears to show his ballot as having voted for Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Kylian Mbappe, however the official tally shows that his votes went to Messi, Van Dijk and Mane. In addition, Sudan coach Lugarisic and Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera say that the votes supposed to have come from them did not reflect their actual choices.
Barerra meanwhile has reportedly said. “I did not vote for Messi. I was surprised to be on the list of captains who voted for Messi and there is no explanation how it appeared there.”
Each nation is given three votes: one from the national team coach, one from its captain and another from a media member associated with the country.
FIFA has hit back by providing what it says is evidence of Barrera’s vote, which shows he selected Messi as his first preference.