David Alaba, the captain of Austria, claims that his decision to vote for Lionel Messi over Karim Benzema as the male player of the year at the Best Fifa Awards was made as a team.
The 30-year-old defender Alaba got criticism on social media for not picking Benzema.
The award went to Messi of Argentina on Monday instead of Mbappe and Benzema of France.
“The Austrian national team vote for this award as a team, not me alone,” said Alaba.
“Everyone in the team council is able to vote and that’s how it’s decided.”
Who cast their votes for whom at the awards was made public by Fifa. Alaba placed Benzema in second place and Mbappe in third, which caused the hashtag #AlabaOut trend on social media.
Alaba joined Madrid from Bayern Munich in 2021, and the two have played together ever since.
“Everyone knows, especially Karim, how much I admire him and his performances and I have often said that for me he is the best striker in the world, and that is still the case. Without doubt,” said Alaba.
The award was voted for by national team coaches and captains as well as journalists and fans across the world.