Split in Irish camp as Keane votes for Ronaldo
Published 12/01/2016 | 02:30
Ireland manager Martin O'Neill gave Euro 2016 opponent Eden Hazard his second preference behind Lionel Messi in Ballon d'Or voting, while his captain Robbie Keane went with Cristiano Ronaldo as his first preference.
O'Neill put Ronaldo in third spot behind Messi and the Belgian star with Keane going for Messi as his number two and Neymar as number three.
A regular feature of voting for the gong is the extent to which the coaches and managers decide to just vote for their colleagues at either club or international level. Vincent Kompany, the Belgium skipper, went with Hazard as his main man with Kevin De Bruyne as second choice.
Sweden coach Erik Hamren didn't risk breaking from habit and chose Zlatan Ibrahimovic as his number one, and Chris Coleman did the same with regard to Gareth Bale. Despite October's loss to Ireland in Dublin, Germany boss Joachim Loew chose three members of his dressing room with Manuel Neuer selected ahead of Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos.
Still, the award for the oddest selection goes to Pakistan boss Basheer Al Shamlan Mohammad Shamlan Mubarak who chose Arjen Robben. The 31-year-old Dutch flier spent a good portion of 2015 on the sidelines.