Lionel Messi, the winner of a record seven Ballon d'Ors, was named FIFA's The Best Men's Player on Monday. Now for the second time in his career, he has been named "The Best" after defeating Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema to take home the prized award.
All FIFA captains, plus each national team's head coach and one media member, cast votes for the award. Everyone who votes must rank the candidates in order of preference. The Argentine scored 52 points, surpassing Mbappe (44) and Benzema (34).
It's always fascinating to see the final tally of votes many hours later. On the other hand, the former captain of Equatorial Guinea has revealed a shocking fact about the voting procedure for such accolades.
What happened with the Ballon d'Or votes in 2013?
When interviewing with the Spanish sports network Gol Play, former Equatorial Guinea national team captain Juvenal Edjogo made a stunning revelation. Juvenal remarked in an interview that in 2013 when he cast his ballot for the Ballon d'Or, he selected Didier Drogba and Andres Iniesta, but when the results were revealed, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo appeared next to his name.
"What little I can say about this type of award is that in 2013, I voted for my three players for the Ballon d’Or, and I sent my votes, and at the end when it was made public, the list of who voted for who, my votes were different.
"It said I voted for Messi, Cristiano, and I don’t know who else, but I didn’t vote for any of them. That’s why I say, I don’t believe in absolutely anything about those awards. Since then, I’ve thought these awards have no value", he said.
Ronaldo beat out Messi to win the award. Yet, the battle for first place was intense, and the last spot on the podium was decided by only one point. But Juvenal isn't the only one who thinks his 2013 Ballon d'Or vote was tampered with. A number of countries' coaches, including those from Bolivia, Albania, Equatorial Guinea, the Dominican Republic, Fiji, Kuwait, and Vanuatu, all alleged the voting was fraudulent.