Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil defender Thiago Silva has admitted he erroneously picked Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or instead of the Argentine’s Barcelona team-mate and fellow Brazilian Neymar.
Silva, himself a nominee for the most coveted individual accolade in the beautiful game, said he only voted for Messi because he thought he was not allowed to vote for his Brazilian compatriot Neymar.
“It was a pity that I could not vote for Brazilians,” the 29-year old told Globoesporte. “Neymar would be first and I would have put myself second.”
Unbeknown to the Brazil skipper, he was perfectly within FIFA rules and regulations to vote for his fellow countryman Neymar. What he would not have been allowed to do however is to vote for himself.
Silva also went ahead to reveal whom he picked as the runners-up to the prestigious award, saying he chose club team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Instead I voted for Messi as first, second Ibra due to all the goals he has scored, and Cristiano Ronaldo in third; he did not win any titles in the last year," he added.
"They are all great players, and any one of them could be there as the winner.”
Ronaldo may have only come third in Thiago Silva’s list, but the Portuguese talisman did get one over the Sweden’s captain on Tuesday night, scoring a hat-trick as Portugal bundled Sweden out of next summer’s FIFA World Cup with a 4-2 aggregate win.
Ibrahimovic did score a brace during the game, but Ronaldo clearly demonstrated who was top dog with his fifth hat-trick of the season.
FIFA will cut the 23-man shortlist they revealed in October for the Ballon d’Or down to just three on December 6th, with Ronaldo, Messi and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery widely expected to be the three front-runners for the award.
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