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Ballon d'Or 2018

Ballon d'Or: the strangest votes

One journalist from every country was given the responsibility to put forward their five favourite players for the award, and some choices were surprising.

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) y Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

France Football's Ballon d'Or gala reached its climax on Monday evening with Luka Modric being crowned, taking over from the ten-year duopoly of Messi and Cristiano. However, although Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder may have gained the most votes overall, when you dig into the detail of the choices from journalists around the world, there are some rather curious findings. (Full list of votes here)

Benzema: best player in world football 2018?

In Argentina, for example, Messi was placed third, while Cristiano Ronaldo didn't even make it onto the list of five. Conversely, Barcelona's number 10 was nowhere to be seen on Brazil's list. National loyalties continued in Portugal, as Cristiano was given first place just ahead of Messi.

Stepping away from the placing of those players that were deemed favourites - Modric, Griezmann, Mbappé, Messi and Cristiano - we got to see some even more interesting opinions on who should win the trophy of, let's not forget, best player of the year.

He did what? | Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema can't believe it either.
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He did what? | Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema can't believe it either.OSCAR DEL POZOAFP

Real Madrid's tepid striker Karim Benzema was put above all others by the journalist given the responsibility and honour for the Central African Republic. (Maybe he forgot he wasn't in the French squad!) In addition, Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic was chosen in fifth place by this voter. In Luxembourg, India and Suriname, Rafael Varane was selected in first place, while Thibaut Courtois was top choice for Kyrgyzstan.

Marcelo, Bale, Ramos gain points

Real Madrid defender Marcelo was on the lists of Finland (4th) and Cameroon (5th), and teammate Gareth Bale gained points in Liecthtenstein (4th), Togo (4th) and Guatemala (5th). Sergio Ramos got a second place from the man in charge of voting in Saint Kitts and Nevis, who perhaps wins our award for most random selection. In order he chose Neymar, Ramos, Luis Suárez, Alisson and Agüero. The Argentine forward actually got a first-placed vote from Granada.

Nice one | PSG's Brazilian forward Neymar got some love in the Ballon d'Or voting.
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Nice one | PSG's Brazilian forward Neymar got some love in the Ballon d'Or voting.NICOLAS TUCATAFP

Barça's Ivan Rakitic managed to impress the voter in Turkmenistan and Saudi Arabia, getting him a third and fifth place respectively.

France and Liverpool recognition

Premier League based World Champions Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kanté garnered some love across France Football's voting globe, while Champions League finalists, and record scorers, Liverpool saw Mohamed Salah stroll to first place in his home country of Egypt, and Roberto Firmino took second place in...Sri Lanka.

Integrity, logic, sincerity, rational, transparent...are all words.


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