Lionel Messi was deservedly named FIFA’s men’s player of the year at their The Best awards on Monday, but Mo Salah did not vote for the PSG forward.
The 2022 iteration of FIFA’s annual awards ceremony, known as The Best FIFA Football Awards, was held on Monday night, with Messi picking up the top prize.
It came after a year that culminated in winning the World Cup, with few other candidates coming close to the Argentina captain.
With votes from international captains, managers and journalists, Messi dominated, with Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane the others most regularly backed as the world’s best player last year.
Both Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson, as captains of the Netherlands and Scotland respectively, voted for Messi as their No. 1 pick.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year Votes
Mohamed Salah: 1. Vinicius Jr. | 2. Kevin De Bruyne | 3. Achraf Hakimi
Virgil van Dijk: 1. Lionel Messi | 2. Mohamed Salah | 3. Kevin De Bruyne
Andy Robertson: 1. Lionel Messi | 2. Kylian Mbappe | 3. Mohamed Salah
They both included Salah in their top three, with Van Dijk placing him behind Messi in second and Robertson considering him below both Messi and Mbappe in third.
But the Egypt captain opted for Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr. as his pick for the best player in the world for 2022.
Salah voted for Kevin De Bruyne as second and PSG and Morocco wing-back Achraf Hakimi in third.
Whether this showed an element of tactical voting or not is unclear, though it is interesting that none of Salah, Van Dijk or Robertson gave a nod to Mane after a standout 2022 of his own.
Salah himself was ranked 14 in the men’s player of the year award, behind Messi, Mbappe, Benzema, Luka Modric, Erling Haaland, Mane, Julian Alvarez, Hakimi, Neymar, De Bruyne, Vinicius Jr., Robert Lewandowski and Jude Bellingham.
Meanwhile, Van Dijk was included in the FIFPRO World XI at the same awards ceremony, as the only centre-back in a bizarre 3-3-4 setup.
Jurgen Klopp did not make the top five in the men’s coach of the year rankings, with Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni picking up the prize.