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12 surprising discoveries from full breakdown of Ballon d'Or voting

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Floating voters: Roy Hodgson was not alone with his assessement of Javier Mascherano as best player in the world, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi did not vote for each other

Floating voters: Roy Hodgson was not alone with his assessement of Javier Mascherano as best player in the world, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi did not vote for each other

Floating voters: Roy Hodgson was not alone with his assessement of Javier Mascherano as best player in the world, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi did not vote for each other

In its annual dalliance with transparency, Fifa released the full breakdown of Ballon d'Or votes on Monday, shortly after Cristiano Ronaldo won the award for a third time.

As ever, the list of votes reveals some interesting patterns and questionable thought processes, not least that England manager Roy Hodgson believes Javier Mascherano to be the best player in the world.

Each national team has a coach, its captain and a member of the media to represent it. All three get a vote. Some are... interesting. Here are 12 of the most surprising discoveries from this year's vote:

1. Ronaldo and Messi didn't vote for each other

This continues a trend dating back to 2010, when Cristiano Ronaldo was the first of the two eligible to vote in the competition. Neither has voted for the other once in the following four years.

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Lionel Messi, left, of Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, before the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2014 award ceremony

Lionel Messi, left, of Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, before the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2014 award ceremony

AP

Lionel Messi, left, of Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, before the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2014 award ceremony

 

2. Barcelona's Messi's first pick has Real Madrid connections

 He chose Angel di Maria as the best player in the world, perhaps understandably given that they play with each other for Argentina. Andrés Iniesta and Javier Mascherano were his second and third choices.

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Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League...MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27:  Angel di Maria of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on September 27, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)...S

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League...MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Angel di Maria of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on September 27, 2014 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)...S

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League...MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Angel di Maria of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on September 27, 2014 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)...S

 

3. Ronaldo thinks he plays with the other best three in the world

The winner went all-Real with his selections: Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

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Arsene Wenger is a big fan of Karim Benzema

Arsene Wenger is a big fan of Karim Benzema

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Arsene Wenger is a big fan of Karim Benzema

 

4. The least popular nominee got one surprise first-place vote

 All 23 players on the shortlist got backing, but Sergio Ramos was the least popular overall with just eight votes. His sole first choice vote was from Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos

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Sergio Ramos

 

5. One person agreed with Roy Hodgson

 Belarus coach Andrei Zygmantovitch also named Javier Mascherano as the best player in the world.

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6. Hazard and Toure are no-one's favourite

Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Manchester City's Yaya Toure were the only two nominees from the shortlist of 23 that did not register once as anyone's top pick.

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Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring his goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium. Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring his goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium. Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Getty Images

Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring his goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium. Scott Heavey/Getty Images

 

7. One in five didn't vote for Ronaldo at all

 Of the votes received, 114 of 554 voters did not pick Cristiano Ronaldo in their top three. So 79.6% cast a vote for Ronaldo.

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Cristiano Ronaldo reacts  after Gareth Bale opts to shoot instead of passing to the Portuguese superstar in Real Madrid's 3-0 victory over Espanyol

Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after Gareth Bale opts to shoot instead of passing to the Portuguese superstar in Real Madrid's 3-0 victory over Espanyol

REUTERS

Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after Gareth Bale opts to shoot instead of passing to the Portuguese superstar in Real Madrid's 3-0 victory over Espanyol

 

8. Diego Godin might fancy a move to Chelsea

 The Atletico Madrid centre back, perennially linked with a move to England, named Chelsea's Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois and former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben as his three picks.

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Name: Diego Godin | Age: 28 | Club: Atletico Madrid | Possible fee: £30m | Interested clubs: Manchester United. Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Name: Diego Godin | Age: 28 | Club: Atletico Madrid | Possible fee: £30m | Interested clubs: Manchester United. Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Getty Images

Name: Diego Godin | Age: 28 | Club: Atletico Madrid | Possible fee: £30m | Interested clubs: Manchester United. Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

 

9. Gareth Bale is popular in places other than Wales

Wales captain Ashley Williams and manager Chris Coleman voted for Bale in first place. The country's media representative Paul Abbandonato put him second behind Ronaldo, but ahead of Thomas Mueller. The rest of Bale's support came from far-flung sources. The captain of Malta, the media from Vanuatu and the coach of Taiwan

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Gareth Bale has enjoyed a hugely successful year and a half in Spain following his move from Spurs, with the player scoring in the Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid in May. AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Gareth Bale has enjoyed a hugely successful year and a half in Spain following his move from Spurs, with the player scoring in the Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid in May. AP Photo/Christophe Ena

AP

Gareth Bale has enjoyed a hugely successful year and a half in Spain following his move from Spurs, with the player scoring in the Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid in May. AP Photo/Christophe Ena

 

10. Vincent Kompany has odd taste

 His three picks were Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Arjen Robben.

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Manchester City's Vincent Kompany has been ruled out of Wednesday's trip to Sunderland

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany has been ruled out of Wednesday's trip to Sunderland

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany has been ruled out of Wednesday's trip to Sunderland

 

11. Ray Wilkins gets a vote!

...on account of being manager of Jordan. He uncontroversially went for Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.

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Ray Wilkins

Ray Wilkins

PA

Ray Wilkins

 

12. There were abstentions

 Most notably, we spotted that the coach and captain of Northern Ireland did not vote. Steven Davis and Michael O'Neill (above) did not appear on Fifa's list, with media rep Jackie Fullerton the country's only voice.

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Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill was not too downbeat following his side's 2-0 loss in Romania

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill was not too downbeat following his side's 2-0 loss in Romania

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill was not too downbeat following his side's 2-0 loss in Romania

 

To see the full voting click here. If you encounter anything surprising, post it in the comments below.

 

Want some more stats? Here you are:

37.66 - the percentage of total votes won by Ronaldo.

0.04 - the gap in per cent between second-placed Messi (15.76) and third-placed Neuer (15.72).

17 - The number of coaches who did not have either Ronaldo or Messi in their top three, including Hodgson.

Five - The number of coaches who did not have any of Ronaldo, Messi or Neuer in their top three.

10 - The number of goals conceded by a Brazil defence including David Luiz in their final two World Cup matches. Luiz was included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI team.

Zero - The number of trophies Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta, who also included in the FIFPro World XI side, won in 2014.

Three - The number of trophies won by Bayern Munich and Germany forward Thomas Muller in 2014, as well as finishing as the second top-scorer at the World Cup. Muller was not included in the FIFPro World XI side.

Seven - The number of captains to vote the world's most expensive player Gareth Bale in their top three.

Telegraph.co.uk


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