Shortly before the 2015 Ballon d’Or announcement was made, Neymar was the bookies’ favourite to finish behind Lionel Messi in second place.
The Barcelona superstar, however, ended up behind both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo after receiving less than eight per cent of the votes.
Messi secured 41.33 per cent of the votes, followed by Ronaldo with 27.76 per cent and then Neymar with a paltry 7.86 per cent. Dani Alves, the Barcelona right-back, was not impressed.
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"Nothing surprises me any more in the football world, but I don't agree with the difference [in votes] between Ney and Cristiano," the Brazilian was quoted as saying by Catalan newspaper Sport.
"If Leo didn't win it, it had to be Ney. But he will win it one day. He has a lot of potential and quality. He wants it and he will fight a lot to achieve it. He always fights for his dreams."
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Alves was also quoted by AS as saying: “It surprised me, but they cry when I speak my mind.”
Neymar probably should have finished second
Alves may have felt - and perhaps justifiably - that Neymar deserved more votes than Ronaldo after helping Barcelona secure all three major trophies last season.
Neymar may not have scored as many goals as Ronaldo - the 23-year-old still netted a hugely impressive 39 goals in 51 appearances last term and has already bagged 18 during the current campaign - but he played an instrumental role in helping Barcelona win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Ronaldo scored 54 goals over the course of 2015 and subsequently earned more votes from the international coaches, captains and journalists who were eligible to have their say.
But it’s debatable whether hat-tricks against the likes of Granada and Getafe are as valuable as goals scored in the finals of competitions like the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Alves: Neymar will work hard to win Ballon d'Or
Alves has good reason to feel a little frustrated for his teammate - but the veteran full-back has no doubts Neymar will get there in the end.
“Neymar has gone through an incredible evolution and he’s a better player every day,” he added. “Of course he’ll keep competing for the award, he wants it and will work to win it.”
Did Cristiano Ronaldo deserve to finish above Neymar in the Ballon d’Or voting? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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