Lionel Messi beat Virgil van Dijk to the 2019 Ballon d’Or by just eight points.
The award is voted for by journalists by 176 nations, with each of them picking five players.
The player they place in first position gets five points, the player they place in second position gets four points and so on…
After the award is dished out, it’s always interesting to see how the journalist in each country voted.
As always, there are a couple of baffling picks.
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And this year, Sri Lanka’s Hafiz Marikar stood out.
The Daily News journalist went for 21-year-old Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold as his Ballon d’Or winner. He may have won the Champions League and had an incredible 2019, but really?
Marikar followed that up with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in second, Antoine Griezmann in third, Robert Lewandowski in fourth and Marc-Andre ter Stegen in fifth.
Five fantastic footballers but they were never in contention to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
Alexander-Arnold finished 19th, Aubameyang finished 20th, Griezmann was 18th, Lewandowski placed eight and Ter Stegen was 24th.
However, Marikar’s votes from 2017 and 2018 and also now emerged - and it seems he has a history of producing rather left-wing shouts.
In 2017, he went for Leonardo Bonucci in first, David de Gea in second, Radamal Falcao in third, Eden Hazard in fourth and Harry Kane in fifth.
Let’s put that into context.
That year, Bonucci came 21st, De Gea finished 20th, Falcao was ranked 24th, Hazard was placed 19th and Kane 10th.
Now, let’s look at 2018.
Marikar placed Hazard top, with Roberto Firmino, Paul Pogba, Ronaldo and Kane making up the top five.
And the rankings of those five players?
Hazard (8th), Firmino (17th), Pogba (15th), Ronaldo (2nd) and Kane (10th).
So, Marikar hasn’t placed the Ballon d’Or winner in his top five picks in the last three years - nor has he ever voted for Messi.
He must be the only journalist in the world to be able to say that.
We already can’t wait for his 2020 Ballon d’Or top five!News Now - Sport News