David Alaba responds after being racially abused for voting Lionel Messi ahead of Karim Benzema

David Alaba responds after being racially abused for voting Lionel Messi ahead of Karim Benzema

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David Alaba insists Austria’s vote for Lionel Messi as Best FIFA Men’s Player was decided ‘as a team and not me alone’ after he was targeted with racist abuse for not picking Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema.

Messi was crowned the world’s best male footballer at FIFA’s annual award ceremony on Monday night, just over two months since he captained Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar.

The PSG superstar pipped club team-mate Kylian Mbappe and Benzema, who finished third in the vote, to claim his second The Best title and first since 2019.

The award is voted for by coaches, captains and journalists from every nation, and after Monday’s ceremony FIFA has released a full breakdown of who picked who.

Surprisingly, the voting breakdown shows that Alaba, who captains Austria, went for Messi as his top choice ahead of Benzema, instead picking his Madrid team-mate second and Mbappe third.

The defender’s vote did not go down well with Los Blancos supporters and he was targeted with vile racist messages and calls to leave their club on social media.

In response, Alaba took to Twitter and clarified that Austria’s vote for Messi was a collective decision.

He posted: ‘Regarding FIFA The Best Award: The Austrian national team vote for this award as a team, not me alone. 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.’

Benzema had to settle for third in the voting despite inspiring Madrid’s astonishing Champions League triumph last season.

The France striker scored back-to-back hat-tricks in last-16 and quarter-final victories over PSG and Chelsea, before scoring a crucial goal in their second-leg win against the Blues.

He also fired home three goals across both legs as they got past Manchester City in the semi-finals.

However, Benzema had to settle for third place in the Best FIFA Men’s Player voting after Messi scooped his second prize.

The 35-year-old was sensational as he masterminded Argentina’s World Cup win last year, scoring seven goals and becoming the first player to score in every knockout game at the competition.

An emotional Messi admitted that the personal accolade completed what had been a ‘tremendous’ year of success for him and his club and country colleagues.

While holding his award, he said: ‘Wow, it’s amazing. It’s been a tremendous year and it’s an honour for me to be here tonight and win this award.

‘Without my team-mates I wouldn’t be here. I achieved the dream I had been hoping for for so long. Very few people can achieve that and I have been lucky to do so.’ 

Elsewhere, Messi’s national team-mate and Aston Villa shot-stopper Emiliano Martinez claimed FIFA’s ‘The Best’ goalkeeper prize, while the top women’s award was won by Alexia Putellas as she additionally became the first woman ever to claim a second consecutive title at the event

Source: Daily Mail Football

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