Ronaldo and Messi’s FIFA Best votes offer fresh insight into rivalry

For just the second time in five years, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have not been voted as FIFA’s Best Men’s Player at the annual awards ceremony.

Previously, only Luka Modric had broken the pair’s stronghold on the award after he was voted as the game’s top male player in 2018.

However, in 2020, both Ronaldo and Messi were forced to accept that Robert Lewandowski enjoyed the best year of any player on the planet.

The Bayern Munich striker scooped the award after plundering 55 goals on the way to the Bundesliga, the German Cup and the Champions League.

Robert Lewandowski won the award after a stunning 2020

Lewandowski has shown no signs of letting up in 2020/21 as well, having already scored 16 times this season.

After winning the award, the Polish international said: “If you win such an award and share that title with Messi and Ronaldo, that is unbelievable and it means so much to me.

“A long time ago, I remember I was longing for something like this and now I can win such and award. This really means, regardless of where you come form, all that matters is what you put into it.”

But with the game’s most iconic pair out of the running for the big prize, it was left to see how they had voted, with all selections made public.

Messi picked his od Barcelona teammate Neymar as the best player in the world

Ronaldo matched the consensus, picking Lewandowski in first place, but did opt for his old rival in the top-three with Neymar.

Messi however, snubbed the Juventus superstar with Neymar, Mbappe and Lewandowski making up his selections.

The former Manchester United star is occasionally seen as the more petulant one of the pair, with his reaction to not winning awards often mocked, but he has regularly shown his respect for the Argentinian.

He was full of praise for the Barcelona legend following a recent Champions League encounter. Ronaldo dominated that particular match, scoring a brace in a 3-0 win, but still took time to single out Messi in his post-match comments.

Do you agree with the FIFA Best selections?  Have your say below.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice for Juventus against Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice for Juventus against Barcelona

“I have always had a very good relationship with him,” said Ronaldo.

“I shared 12, 13 or 14 years of award ceremonies with him. I never saw him as a rival. He always tries to do what is best for his team and me too. I always got along very well with him.

“But we know that in football, for the press, for the show, a rivalry is sought, but I have always gotten along well with him. I see him as always.”

Both did earn a place in the FIFPro team of the year, an XI dominated by players from Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

FIFPro Men’s Team of the Year: Alisson (Liverpool), Davies (Bayern Munich, Van Dijk (Liverpool), Ramos ( Real Madrid ), Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool); Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Thiago (Liverpool), De Bruyne (Man City; Ronaldo (Juventus), Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Messi (Barcelona).

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