Head coach of Sudan, Zdravko Lugarusic and Nicaragua national team captain, Juan Barrera have come forward and insisted 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.
Former Asante Kotoko gaffer Zdravko Lugarusic —who now heads the Sudanese National team — 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.