Real Madrid defender David Alaba has been forced to defend his vote at the FIFA best awards after it became public that he had snubbed teammate Karim Benzema in favour of Lionel Messi.
The Austrian defender’s results were leaked, which showed him as the only Real Madrid player to vote for Lionel Messi first ahead of teammate Benzema, while he had long-time transfer target Kylian Mbappe in third.
And this led to a barrage of social media abuse from Real Madrid fans, with the Austrian defender’s Instagram flooded with racist abuse and #AlabaOut trending on social media.
The Real Madrid defender has since come out and revealed just why he voted for Messi, and as it happens, it was not his vote. Instead, he chose to use his vote to canvas across the Austrian national team, which he captains, in order to decide who to nominate.
“Regarding FIFA The Best Award: The Austrian national team vote for this award as a team, not me alone”, he began on Twitter.
“Everyone in the team council is able to vote and that’s how it’s decided. Everyone knows, especially Karim, how much I admire him and his performances and I have often said that for me he is the best striker in the world, and that is still the case. Without doubt.”
Irrespective of Alaba’s vote, Messi was the runaway winner on the night, racking up 54 points which included almost twice as many as Kylian Mbappe from coaches, players and pundits, while he was over 3 times more popular in the fan vote too.
Karim Benzema finished a distant third despite his goalscoring heroics for Los Blancos last season, and his scooping of the Ballon D’or last year.