Ronaldo’s Portugal Coach Snubs Him, Picks Leo Messi and 2 Others in His FIFA Best Men’s Player Vote

Ronaldo’s Portugal Coach Snubs Him, Picks Leo Messi and 2 Others in His FIFA Best Men’s Player Vote

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
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  • Lionel Messi was crowned best men’s player of 2023 at FIFA’s The Best awards
  • He wins the coveted prize for the second time in a row after his triumph in 2022
  • But Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal coach's decision to vote Messi has caught the eye

Lionel Messi solidified his status as the greatest footballer in the sport by clinching the 2023 FIFA Men's Best Player Award on Monday, January 15.

The Argentine maestro outshone competition from former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City's prolific goal-scorer Erling Haaland, securing the award for the second consecutive year.

Roberto Martinez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, FIFA The Best Awards, vote
Roberto Martinez picked Lionel Messi ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2023 FIFA The Best Men's Player Awards. Photos by NurPhoto, Mark Leech/Offside and Pablo Morano/BSR Agency.
Source: Getty Images

FIFA Best: Messi sets new record

Messi has now become the player with the most wins of the prestigious award, having been recognised as the world's finest footballer in 2019, 2022, and now 2023, as reported by GOAL.

Unfortunately, neither Messi nor his fellow nominees attended the ceremony, according to a report filed by Fabrizio Romano.

Meanwhile, Thierry Henry, the co-host of the Awards and Messi's former Barcelona teammate, accepted the prize on the Inter Miami star's behalf and took a moment in his acceptance speech to playfully taunt Tottenham Hotspur, as seen by Sports Brief.

Ronaldo's Portugal coach votes for Messi

Amidst the headlines, it's the choice of Roberto Martinez, the head coach of Portugal, for the awards that have drawn attention.

Martinez, who guided the Selecao to Euro 2024 with an impressive record, seemingly surprised many with his selections.

Despite being Cristiano Ronaldo's coach at Portugal, the 50-year-old snubbed the Al-Nassr goal-scoring machine in his three-man shortlist.

Instead, he opted for Ronaldo's Al-Nassr teammate Marcelo Brozovic as his first choice, followed by diminutive Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva as his second choice.

Notably, Martinez controversially chose Cristiano's greatest rival, Lionel Messi, as his third choice, per TCR.

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Fans unhappy with Messi's FIFA Best prize

In a related publication, Sports Brief also reported on fans taking to social media to express their disappointment with Lionel Messi winning the FIFA Best Men’s Player Award for 2023 over Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.

The frustration arose from Messi and Haaland, who both earned 48 scoring points, while Mbappe secured 35.

Despite the tie, Messi, of Inter Miami, emerged victorious over the Norwegian striker, attributed to receiving more first-choice nominations from national team captains (13 to 11).

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.