FIFA has revealed who every single footballer, manager and journalist voted for in the 2012 Ballon d’Or after Lionel Messi picked up the prestigious prize for a record 4th time last night.
Messi beat Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize with over 40% of the votes – and now it has been revealed just who voted to help the Argentinian forward move ahead of the likes of Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Michel Platini as the player to win the award four times.
The FIFA document reveals that Messi himself voted for Iniesta along with Barcelona colleague Xavi and countryman Sergio Aguero.
Ronaldo passed on his vote as Portugal captain to Bruno Alves, who unsurprisingly put the Real Madrid forward in first place, ahead of Ateltico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao and Manchester United forward Robin van Persie, who earned the most votes out of any Premier League player.
His Manchester United strike partner Wayne Rooney, polled the most votes for an Englishman.
With every national coach and captain allowed to vote, unsurprisingly there have been accusations of political voting.
German national team manager Joachim Low put two of his players, Mesut Ozil and Manuel Neuer alongside Xavi in his top three with Ronaldo and Messi nowhere to be seen, while Spain boss Vincente del Bosque, who scooped the coach of the year prize, put forward three La Roja players as his nominees for the Ballon d’Or.
Closer to home, Steven Gerrard used his vote as England captain to put forward former Liverpool team-mate Xabi Alonso alongside Messi and Ronaldo for the award, while Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson opted for Messi, Ronaldo and Falcao. Former Chelsea forward receievd a handful of votes to lif the award, mostly from African nations.