Dani Alves Says Lionel Messi’s Exclusion From The Best FIFA Men’s Player Nomination is ‘Unjust’

Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil full-back Dani Alves has branded Lionel Messi’s exclusion from The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award nomination unjust.

Real Madrid’s Luka Modric walked away with the prestigious accolade on Monday night, with FIFA’s ceremony taking place at the Royal Festival Hall in London. But Messi wasn’t even among the top three nominees as Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo filled up the other two spots.

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Messi was named as part of the FIFA FIFPro World XI, along with Alves. Yet the Brazilian did not seem happy about his former teammate getting overlooked for the main award.

?“It’s unjust that Messi was not nominated for The Best,” he said to ESPN after the ceremony (H/T Sport). “It’s not just that they have only looked at what he has done with Argentina and not what he has done with Barcelona.”

The Barcelona forward has been creating magic in Spain for several years now but hasn’t been able to replicate his performances on the international stage with Argentina, who had a very disappointing World Cup this year.


Alves clearly felt that the player’s displays for Barca over the last year should have left him among the top nominees. But no one can say Modric wasn’t deserving of his award, especially not Messi, who actually voted for the Croatian as No.1 in his picks.

The Argentinian also voted for long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo for No.3 – he went with Kylian Mbappe at No.2 – but the new Juventus star did not return the favour, going with Raphael Varane, Modric and Antoine Griezmann in that order.

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Messi scored 34 goals and assisted 12 more in 36 La Liga appearances for La Blaugrana last season and has scored five times in five outings along with two assists this term.

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Breaking Down Who Voted for Who in the 2018 Best FIFA Men’s Player Award

Luka Modric was honoured with the Best FIFA Men’s Player award at a ceremony in London on Monday evening, fighting off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah to win the  prize.

The captains, managers and media representatives of each FIFA member all got to cast their votes to decide who won, and now that the full details have been released, it’s time to partake in everyone’s favourite pastime: analyse tactical voting. Yay!

So who put their money on Modric, who rated Ronaldo highest, and who wanted to see Salah crowned king? 

Find out below. 

1. Luka Modric

Percentage of the Vote: 29.05%

Croatia’s inspirational captain won by an overwhelming margin of nearly 10%. 

Even Barcelona’s Lionel Messi overlooked club rivalries to vote for Real Madrid star Modric as his player of the year, with former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo putting him second.

England manager Gareth Southgate, Wales boss Ryan Giggs and Poland captain Robert Lewandowski were among those who also chose Modric top of their lists. 

The least surprising person to choose Modric was Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic, who ensured that his countryman enjoyed success even as he missed out on the manager of the year award.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Percentage of the Vote: 19.08%

Ronaldo failed to make it a trio of Best awards as he was handily beaten by his former teammate. However, the likes of England captain Harry Kane, Italy manager Roberto Mancini and Arsenal’s Swiss skipper Stephan Lichtsteiner all sided with the Juventus magician.

Portugal boss Fernando Santos and the Portuguese media representative both kept faith with their national hero, as did Ronaldo’s new Juve teammate Giorgio Chiellini

In one of the more surprising inclusions, Lionel Messi named his arch-nemesis third. Ronaldo did not return the favour.

3. Mohamed Salah

Percentage of the Vote: 11.23%

Salah had an incredible first year for Liverpool but Egypt’s failure at the World Cup and a lack of silverware ultimately cost Salah. 

Reds teammate Virgil van Dijk stood by his friend, as did ex-Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan, the captain of Estonia. 

Michael O’Neill and Alex McLeish, managers of Northern Ireland and Scotland respectively, both voted in favour of Salah, as did Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis. Surprisingly, Uzbekistan coach Hector Cuper – who managed Egypt at the World Cup – did not choose Salah in his top three.

4. Kylian Mbappe

Percentage of the Vote: 10.52%

Mbappe narrowly missed out on the shortlist of three but finishing ahead of Messi at the age of 19 is no mean feat. 

He didn’t get much help from his countrymen though, with Didier Deschamps and Hugo Lloris choosing other French players higher. The French media representative didn’t even have Mbappe in his top three!

Former World Cup winner Marcello Lippi was one of the few notable names to choose Mbappe top of his list. Lionel Messi, Ryan Giggs and Germany manager Joachim Low picked the young Frenchman second.

5. Lionel Messi

Percentage of the Vote: 9.81%

A year like Lionel Messi’s would usually be enough for a top three spot, but the Argentine is held to a higher standard than most. Argentina’s media representative might not be very popular after leaving Messi out of his top three and including Ronaldo instead!

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill voted for Messi. Antonio Valencia and Aleksandar Kolarov are among the noteworthy captains to have chosen the Barcelona star, with Harry Kane putting him second on his list.

6. Antoine Griezmann

Percentage of the Vote: 6.69%

A lowly sixth place – that’s what scoring twice in the Europa League final and once in the World Cup final gets you. 

However, Antoine Griezmann can take heart from being the teacher’s pet, as Didier Deschamps chose him ahead of teammates Raphael Varane and Kylian Mbappe. 

Uruguay’s Diego Godin was the only captain to pick his Atletico Madrid compatriot as player of the year, and he convinced his manager Oscar Tabarez to take his side as well. Cristiano Ronaldo chose Griezmann third on his list.

7. Eden Hazard

Percentage of the Vote: 5.65%

Either Roberto Martinez didn’t understand the rules or he’s just painfully honest, because he didn’t choose his own Belgium captain Eden Hazard in his top three. That will be an interesting conversation during the next international break.

Manuel Neuer was the most high profile captain to choose Hazard as his number one, while Panama’s Roman Torres obviously didn’t bear any ill will from seeing his side taken apart by Hazard at the World Cup. 

Hazard was the only Premier League player to make Gareth Southgate’s top three, placing third.

8. Kevin De Bruyne

Percentage of the Vote: 3.54%

Oh for goodness sake, what is it with these Belgians and their unflinching honesty? Martinez didn’t choose De Bruyne in his top three either (it makes sense now; he’s too nice to pick a favourite), but neither did Hazard! And neither did notable Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur!

De Bruyne’s total brilliance for Manchester City and Belgium apparently wasn’t enough for most people, with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew one of only two captains to vote for the assist master. He was slightly more popular among managers, with Dutch boss Ronald Koeman among those to pick De Bruyne.

9. Raphael Varane

Percentage of the Vote: 3.45%

The people’s choice. Raphael Varane may have taken only a small margin of the vote but some of world football’s greats recognised him as their personal player of the year. The top two both picked Varane as their number one, with Modric and Ronaldo both honouring his contribution to Real Madrid’s Champions League win… and more likely probably trying to vote tactically to ensure their own victory.

France captain Hugo Lloris picked Varane top of his list, as did the French media representative, while manager Didier Deschamps put him second. Gareth Southgate also gave Varane his personal silver medal ahead of more popular names. 

10. Harry Kane

Percentage of the Vote: 0.98%

Less than 1% of the vote? But he took those penalties so expertly! Sadly, Harry’s goalscoring prowess wasn’t enough to win over his fellow voters, with only 17 of them including him in their top three.

Special shout-outs to Bahamas manager Dion Godet, Chinese Taipei boss Gary White and Vanuatu media representative Raymond Nase for choosing Kane as their number one. Gentlemen, you are true friends of the crown. 

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Argentina FA President Says Lionel Messi Will Return to International Side Despite Recent Absence

?The president of the Argentina Football Association (AFA) believes that Lionel Messi will eventually return to play for his country, despite the forward declaring himself unavailable for selection for the foreseeable future.

Recent reports from Argentinian outlet ?Clarin suggested that Messi had informed Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni that he does not wish to be selected for international duty, failing to confirm whether he will ever return to the side. These reports were proven to be correct as Messi has been left out of the squad to face Iraq and Brazil next month.

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Despite ?Messi’s absence, AFA president Claudio Tapia remains confident that the ?Barcelona star will return to play for the international side once again. He told ?TyC Sports: “I have no doubts that he will return to play [with the national team].

“We have to let him be and give him the time he needs. We have to continue the way we are.

“I’m completely calm, knowing that he, more than anyone, loves the national team jersey. I don’t put a time to his return. We have to let things flow and it will happen when it has to happen. We cannot be hasty.”

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Messi is believed to have grown frustrated with Argentina’s failings at the World Cup this summer, and Tapia believes his star man was under too much pressure heading into the tournament. He said: “We made him responsible to be world champion, but football is a team sport and is difficult.

“He took charge in situations where players shouldn’t. We just have to continue as we are.”

Scaloni confirmed that he spoke with Messi ahead of announcing his squad, revealing both parties believed Messi should not be involved. Speaking to ?Fox Sports, Scaloni said: “I spoke with him [Messi] and we continue to think it’s the best that he doesn’t come, he won’t be called.

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We are in a different stage and these group of young players have to keep wearing the Argentina shirt to see what they can do, that’s the most important thing.”

Since making his Argentina debut in 2005, Messi has netted an impressive 65 goals in 128 appearances for his country.

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FIFPro World XI Named at Prestigious FIFA Best Awards Ceremony in London

Manchester United and Spain goalkeeper David de Gea is among the players to have been named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI for 2018, though there was a notable omission from the team – in Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

With the Best FIFA Football Award ceremony having taken place in London on Monday night, several players were recognised for their contributions to the sport over the past year.

The Spanish stopper joined Real Madrid stars Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo and Luka Modric in the world’s top side, while Barcelona and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi was included as well.

Former Barca star defender Dani Alves, now at Paris Saint-Germain, made up the defensive line for the World’s best as Chelsea pair N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard were named among the best midfielders.

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The Blues midfielders have been two of the most impressive players in the Premier League and they both had incredible campaigns in the World Cup, with the former going on to win the trophy with France while the latter won bronze with Belgium.

New Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has also unsurprisingly made it into the prestigious 11 after another great year in Europe with Madrid, and French prodigy Kylian Mbappe would join him after a World Cup-winning summer.

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?Modric, who won the World Cup’s Golden Ball and was only recently named UEFA’s Player of the Year, has been handed yet another personal triumph off the back of an incredible season with Real and an impressive World Cup performance with Croatia.

The Croatian midfielder would also be presented with the night’s top award, being named the Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2018.

“This trophy is also for my family without who I would not be the player and person that I am,” he said. “Thanks to my fans all over the world for great support and love that they are showing me.”

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The Best: How the World Looked the Last Time Ronaldo or Messi Didn’t Win FIFA’s Top Award

It was 2007 the last time that neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo won FIFA’s top individual global award – be it the FIFA World Player of the Year, FIFA Ballon d’Or, or Best FIFA Men’s Player – in any of it various guises, with Kaka the last man to rule the football world.

That is a decade of dominance at the elite level, but one that is under threat in 2018.

That is because Messi isn’t even on the final three-man shortlist for a FIFA award for the first time since 2006, while Ronaldo faces serious competition from Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah to retain his crown.

In the modern world where everything moves to quickly and hyperbole rules, 2007 was a very, very long time ago and so much has changed…  

9. Kylian Mbappe Was 8-Years-Old

He might well be winning the top individual prizes in the coming years, but Kylian Mbappe was still three days shy of his ninth birthday when Kaka was handed the FIFA World Player of the Year award on December 20, 2007.

Since, then he’s become the second most expensive player in history and won the World Cup.  

8. Spain Were World Football’s Underachievers

Until winning Euro 2008 kicked off a run of international dominance, Spain were just as guilty as England for being world football’s great underachievers.

Having won an early European Championship in 1964, the sleeping giant often failed to live up to their potential at various times, with Euro 2008 at last breaking a 44-year drought that was quickly followed by a maiden World Cup in 2010 and another European crown in 2012.

Now, a new generation of Spanish players is tipped for even more glory in the coming years.  

7. Social Media Was Only Just Taking Hold

We’d had four years of MySpace back in 2007, but Facebook was only just catching on for a global audience after Mark Zuckerburg had launched the website from his college dorm room at Harvard University only three years earlier.

Twitter was a thing, but only just, and it wouldn’t blow up until 2009.

Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder…? Come on.  

6. iPhones Joined the Smartphone Revolution

Although primitive by today’s standards, smartphones have existed since the late 1990s. But it wasn’t until 2007 and beyond that the revolution really began and the devices we now take for granted started to become commonplace.

Apple released its first generation iPhone in June 2007 and it was two years later in 2009 that Samsung produced its first iteration of the Galaxy.  

5. Donald Trump Was Just a Rich Guy From TV

11 years ago, the closest Donald Trump had got to becoming President of the United States was a line in an episode of The Simpsons aired in 2000 that jokingly predicted a future in which his time in office had tanked the country’s economy.

Fast forward to 2016 and that future became an unlikely reality. In 2007, he was mainly known as that rich guy from TV who fronted The Apprentice.  

4. People Still Actually Watched TV

These days, television consumption is all about on demand and streaming. Netflix, Amazon and catch up are taking over. Certainly with regard to the YouTube, staying tuned in with ‘vloggers’ has become the hit thing for Millenials and Generation Z-ers.

When was the last time you sat down to watch a television programme on a real TV at the precise time when it was originally on?  

3. The Big Bang Theory Was Brand New

In December 2007, a new show broadcast on CBS called ‘The Big Bang Theory’ was only a few short months into its debut season. 

All these years later, Dr. Sheldon Cooper and co. are still on the air, with the current series of one of the most popular sit-coms in television history set to be the final one.

Another CBS comedy called ‘How I Met Your Mother’ was into its third year, but in late 2007 we were still five-and-half-years from learning who the mother was, and six-and-a-half years away from one of the most eagerly anticipated and yet disappointing TV finales in recent memory.  

2. The Global Financial Crisis Hadn’t Hit

The world was plunged into financial turmoil in September 2008 when the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the United States triggered an international banking crisis, the full effects of which have still not worn off to this day.

The world was a simpler and more affordable place in 2007.  

1. Brexit…Where to Even Begin?

Brexit, that thing that some people convince 52% of British voters was a good thing with mistruths and false information, was still a distant pipedream for Euro-sceptics in 2007.

The Europe question had been a point of debate among UK politicians for years, but never anything more.

In 2018, Britain is standing on the brink of economic suicide for the sake of those all-important blue passports and taking back sovereignty that had never been lost.

What was that about 2007 being a simpler time?  

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