David Alaba has broken his silence after he was targeted with racist abuse for not picking Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema after he voted for Lionel Messi as Best FIFA Men’s Player, Newspremises reports.
Messi was crowned the world’s best male footballer at FIFA’s annual award ceremony on Monday night, February 27, just over two months since he captained Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar.
The Paris-Saint-Germain superstar pipped club team-mate Kylian Mbappe and Benzema, who finished third in the vote, to claim his second The Best title and first since 201.
The award is voted for by coaches, captains, and journalists from every nation, and after Monday’s ceremony, FIFA has released a full breakdown of who picked who.
In the voting breakdown, Alaba, who captains Austria, went for Messi as his top choice ahead of Benzema, instead picking his Madrid team-mate second and Mbappe third.
The defender’s vote did not go down well with Los Blancos supporters and he was targeted with vile racist messages and has been told to leave the club.
In response, Alaba took to Twitter and clarified that Austria’s vote for Lionel Messi as Best FIFA Men’s Player was decided ‘as a team and not me alone’
He posted: ‘Regarding FIFA The Best Award: The Austrian national team vote for this award as a team, not me alone. Everyone in the team council is able to vote and that’s how it’s decided.
‘Everyone knows, especially Karim, how much I admire him and his performances.’