Real Madrid defender David Alaba was the only Real Madrid player to vote for Lionel Messi ahead of Karim Benzema for the FIFA The Best award. As a result, the Paris Saint-Germain star would take the honor.
Nonetheless, the rivalry runs deep despite Messi being a couple of years removed from his days at FC Barcelona. The Austrian defender did take to Twitter on Tuesday morning to explain why his vote ended up for Messi and not his Real Madrid teammate.
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
— David Alaba (@David_Alaba) February 28, 2023
While the rivalry does run deep, at the end of the day, it is an award, but it didn’t stop some users on Twitter from racially abusing him after the voting system revealed that Alaba’s name appeared as someone who voted for Messi.
Football continues to fight these cases of racism from fans, and while The Best award isn’t on the level of the Ballon d’Or, it’s still an impressive honor.