One national team captain and another national team coach have come forward to say they did not vote for Lionel Messi, raising doubt that the voting for The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award was rigged.
Some were surprised the FC Barcelona superstar picked up the main award on Monday after Virgil van Dijk beat him and Cristiano Ronaldo to the UEFA Player of the Year accolade in August.
Messi received the most votes from national team coaches, national team captains and the fans, while Van Dijk received the most votes from journalists – FIFA’s Player of the Year award is based on four voting panels, each having a weighting of 25%.
However, some doubt over the voting process has now been raised by two different football personalities, both of whom insisted their votes were counted incorrectly.
“I did not vote for Messi,” Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera told La Prensa. “Last year I voted, but this time I did not.”
In FIFA’s voting breakdown, though, votes for Messi, Sadio Mane in second and Ronaldo in third place were registered for the surprised Barrera.
The Nicaragua captain is not the only person who questioned the voting. Sudan head coach Zdravko Lugarusic has also claimed his votes were registered incorrectly.
According to FIFA’s voting breakdown, the Sudan coach chose Messi in first place, Van Dijk in second and Mane in third, but he has since released a screenshot of his actual vote, which shows Mohamed Salah in first position, Mane in second and Kylian Mbappe in third.
Sudan head coach Zdravko Lugarisic claims that he made Mo Salah 🇪🇬 his first choice for #TheBestAwards but he was shocked to find out that his vote had gone to Messi.
— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) September 25, 2019
This is not the first time the voting process at a FIFA awards event were questioned – similar transpired in 2015 when several national team captains insisted their original votes were altered.