Breaking Down Messi’s Win: Unconventional Votes, Haaland’s Challenge, and Mbappe’s Unexpected Alliances
Lionel Messi clinched The Best FIFA Men’s Player award by the slimmest of margins, tying in points with Erling Haaland, as detailed by a breakdown released by FIFA. The selection process involved national team players and captains, journalists, and fans, each contributing 25% to the final decision. Messi, securing the prestigious prize for the second consecutive year, received more first-place nominations from national team captains than Haaland, ultimately securing his victory at the London ceremony. Despite the voting period not encompassing Argentina’s triumph in the 2022 World Cup, Messi emerged as a three-time winner.
In a surprising turn, Messi opted for Haaland over his former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe, with his third vote going to fellow Argentine and Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez. Mbappe, who finished third overall, reciprocated Messi’s choice, creating an interesting dynamic in the voting process. Notably, Cristiano Ronaldo, a perennial contender, was absent from the Men’s Best XI, and he did not cast a vote. Instead, his Portugal teammate Pepe assumed the responsibility, with an intriguing twist – Pepe did not include Messi in his top three choices, favoring Bernardo Silva, Haaland, and Victor Osimhen.
Gareth Southgate, the England manager, also raised eyebrows by excluding Messi from his top three picks. Instead, Southgate favored an all-City trio of Haaland, Rodri, and Silva. However, there were contrasting views within the English camp, as star striker Harry Kane placed Messi at the top of his list. These intricate details from the voting process provide a fascinating glimpse into the dynamics and diverse preferences among football personalities, contributing to the closely contested race for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award.