Pakistan coach votes for Arjen Robben, Scott Brown omits Lionel Messi from top three
Although Lionel Messi was the clear winner in the Ballon d’Or, with 41.33 per cent of the vote, the result may have come as a surprise to the Pakistan coach.
Basheer Al Shamlan Mohammad Shamlan Mubarak thought that Arjen Robben – the Dutch winger blighted by injury for much of the year – was the outstanding player, followed by Karim Benzema and then Cristiano Ronaldo.
Another bizarre selection was Barcelona and Argentina defender Javier Mascherano, who received 11 votes - five of which listed him first. Strangely, two of his first-place votes came from the captain and manager of Guatemala.
Scotland captain Scott Brown will also have been shocked. He omitted Messi from his list entirely – opting for Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland), Ronaldo and then Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich/Germany).
Scott Brown tackles Neymar (Reuters)Reuters
The breakdown also revealed tactical voting. Messi, eligible to vote as Argentina captain, named Barcelona team-mates Luis Suarez, Neymar and Andres Iniesta as his top three.
Indeed, every Barcelona and Real Madrid player that also captains an international side only voted for team-mates.
Gareth Bale's hit a hat-trick to dispel any rumours of his discontent in MadridPA Sport
Belgium captain Vincent Kompany opted for his compatriots Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne as his top two, while Peru's captain Claudio Pizarro voted for fellow former Bayern players Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos.
Yaya Toure? Well, he received 18 votes with 14 of those coming from voters representing African nations.
Casillas had a vote as Spain captain but reportedly didn’t use it. This was apparently due to an administrative error on the part of the Spanish federation.