Arguably more exciting than the actual announcement of the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner is the immediate release of the full voting results. Because every year, some of the ballots cast by the national team coaches, captains, and media members are downright laughable, like they don’t even know their votes are made public.
This year turned out to be one of the closest races ever. Cristiano Ronaldo (1,365 points) edged out Lionel Messi (1,205) and Franck Ribery (1,127), as all three were separated by less than 250 points, the equivalent of 50 first-place votes. The voting could have been even closer, too, were it not for some ridiculous ballots among the 541 voters.
Without further ado, here are the most bizarre findings:
- Of course, the finalists who had a vote chose not to pick their rivals. Ronaldo’s votes: Radamel Falcao, Gareth Bale, Mesut Ozil.
- Messi’s votes: Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Neymar. Hmmm, wonder why?
- Georgia captain Jaba Kankava has not heard of Messi, Ronaldo or Ribery. His top three were: Iniesta, Andrea Pirlo, Edinson Cavani.
- Ethiopia captain Degu Debebe Gebreyes’ choices: Xavi, Pirlo, Thomas Muller. Also interesting.
- Yaya Toure received three nods for Player of the Year, from Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba and Mauritania captain Dominique Da Silva.
- Bhutan has a lot of love for the Germans. Team captain Passang voted Mesut Ozil for Player of the Year, while coach Dorji Khandu voted for Thomas Muller.
- Where’s the D? China coach Fu Bo and Madagascar captain Tahina Randrianarisoa voted for Thiago Silva. Mozambique captain Ivan Dario and Israel coach Eli Gutman for Philipp Lahm.
- No bias at all: Italy’s Gigi Buffon and Claudio Prandelli both voted for Andrea Pirlo. San Marino captain Andy Selva did, too.
- Must be the money! New Zealand coach Ricky Herbert picked Gareth Bale as his Ballon d’Or winner.
- Media member Geniy Tulegenov of Kazakhstan liked two Bayern teammates ahead of Ribery, who he voted third: Arjen Robben (1st) and Thomas Muller (2nd).
If you think we missed some, you can look over the full list of votes here.
Photo provided by Action Images.