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England coach Roy Hodgson thinks Javier Mascherano is better than Messi and Ronaldo

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Javier Mascherano of FC Barcelona competes for the ball with Sergio Canales of Real Sociedad

Javier Mascherano of FC Barcelona competes for the ball with Sergio Canales of Real Sociedad

Javier Mascherano of FC Barcelona competes for the ball with Sergio Canales of Real Sociedad

England coach Roy Hodgson caused a stir with his voting for the FIFA Ballon d'Or after omitting both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi from his top three.

Ronaldo claimed the award for the second successive year after winning 37.66 per cent of all votes, while four-time world player of the year Messi was second with 15.76 per cent, just ahead of Manuel Neuer (15.72 per cent).

Instead of plumping for the two players widely regarded as the best on the planet, Hodgson opted for Javier Mascherano as his top pick, with Philipp Lahm second and Neuer third.

Only one other international manager selected Barcelona and Argentina defender/midfielder Mascherano as their first choice for the award - Belarus boss Andrei Zygmantovitch - and Hodgson's picks have certainly created waves on social media.

Former England captain Gary Lineker was among those to tweet their surprise, saying of Hodgson: "You have to love his sense of humour. Ronaldo and Messi are far and away the best players on the planet, how could they both possibly not be in your top 3?"

Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher - who played under Hodgson at Liverpool - tweeted: "Love Roy Hodgson going for a clean sheet with his Ballon D'or picks. 1)Mascherano 2)Lahm 3)Neuer."

Hodgson is not the first England boss to stray from the norm when it comes to FIFA Ballon d'Or voting, though, with Fabio Capello going for Maicon as one of his top three selections in 2010.

Maicon helped Inter Milan win the treble of Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia in 2010, but aside from Capello only five other coaches voted for the Brazil international - those from Albania, Bermuda, FYR Macedonia, Tajikistan and Venezuela.

 

How England coaches have voted since the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010:

2010: Fabio Capello: First: Andres Iniesta. Second: Xavi. Third: Maicon.

2011: Fabio Capello: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney.

2012: Roy Hodgson: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao.

2013: Roy Hodgson: Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robin van Persie.

2014 Roy Hodgson: Javier Mascherano, Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer.


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