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Tuesday 29 July 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fail to vote for each other for Ballon d'Or

Jack de Menezes

Published 14/01/2014|11:32

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Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo cries after receiving the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or award for player of the year
Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo cries after receiving the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or award for player of the year
Real Madrid's Christiano Ronaldo of Portugal, FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi of Argentina, and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery of France, from left, the three nominees for world  soccer player of the year, take part in a press conference prior to the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 Gala in Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Real Madrid's Christiano Ronaldo of Portugal, FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi of Argentina, and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery of France, from left, the three nominees for world soccer player of the year

Perhaps more interesting than the actual Ballon d’Or award itself is the release of the full list of who voted for who, which more often than not makes for some interesting reading – and usually a few laughable decisions.

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Somewhat unsurprisingly, neither winner Cristiano Ronaldo nor his arch-rival Lionel Messi voted for each other, in an attempt to give themselves the best chance of winning the sought-after award.

Argentina captain Messi decided that the best approach was to keep things sweet at his club, Barcelona. All three of his nominations were teammates of his at the Spanish league champions, with Messi opting to vote Andres Iniesta as his winner, followed by Xavi and summer signing Neymar.

Ronaldo on the other hand included just one of his club colleagues, although he also nominated a former Real Madrid player in Arsenal’s Mesut Özil as his third choice. However, Ronaldo’s first choice was AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, who scored 29 goals in 2013 in all competitions for Atletico Madrid, Monaco and his country Colombia.

Ronaldo also chose £86m record signing Gareth Bale in second, with the Welshman receiving 25 individual votes in total from the 541 total across the international captains, coaches and media representatives.

Away from the obvious choices, Manchester City and Belgium captain Vincent Kompany took a rather bemusing approach in voting for Franck Ribéry, Yaya Touré and Eden Hazard. Given that Ronaldo and Messi combined have won the prestigious award for the last six years (Ronaldo won his second on Monday to add to his 2008 crown while the Argentinian has taken the last four awards), Kompany’s opinion that neither have been better than the three he chose is rather difficult to understand, although there is a case for Ribéry after his treble-winning season.

Italian captain Gianluigi Buffon chose his Juventus and national teammate Andrea Pirlo ahead of both Ronaldo and Messi, while Manchester United and Netherlands striker Robin van Persie decided that Ribéry’s teammate Arjen Robben deserved the award, with his second vote going to Paris Saint Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Swedish captain was perhaps the most honest in his voting, choosing Ribéry, Messi and Ronaldo in his top three.

Closer to home, England captain Steven Gerrard chose Ronaldo over Messi, and included Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez in his selection, while coach Roy Hodgson backed the eventual winner as his first choice along with Ibrahimovic and van Persie.

Ireland captain Robbie Keane backed Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d'Or top spot but Martin O'Neill voted for Lionel Messi.

Keane revealed last week that he had given Ronaldo the nod ahead of Messi, with his old Spurs colleague Gareth Bale in third. O'Neill went for the same three players with Messi first, Ronaldo second and Bale also on the podium.

"I've voted Messi every other year but I just think this year he (Ronaldo) has been consistent," said Keane. "I know he's just doing the same thing that he always does but I think this year that if anyone deserves it he does; just look at what he did in the play-offs against Sweden."

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