After Lionel Messi was crowned the FIFA Best Men’s Player of the Year on Monday night ahead of Virgil van Dijk, we’ve been provided with the key contenders’ voting information.
Often among the frontrunners we see ‘tactical voting’: snubbing key arrivals for the award in order to boost their chances.
That was the case once again for seasoned awards ceremony veterans Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi, as reported by Sky Sports, cast his top vote for Reds winger Sadio Mane, with Ronaldo second and new team-mate Frenkie de Jong third.
Mane may be justifiably flattered, but it doesn’t take a cynic to understand why Messi overlooked Liverpool’s top player.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, characteristically omitted both Messi and Van Dijk from his list, instead going for Juventus’ summer signing Matthijs de Ligt, De Jong and Kylian Mbappe.
Virgil, on the other hand, simply wasn’t interested in playing games. He voted for chief competitor Messi with his team-mates Mohamed Salah and Mane second and third respectively.
This lends weight to the Dutchman’s earlier insistence that he isn’t preoccupied with individual recognition.
At Liverpool, no one player, no matter how successful, is under the illusion that they are bigger than the team.