Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has taken a swipe at the Ballon d’Or after Brazil teammate Vinicius Jr was only ranked number eight at Monday’s award gala in Paris.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was announced the winner of one of the football most prestigious award for the first time in his career, with Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane and Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne finishing second and third respectively.
Robert Lewandowski, Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappe and Thibaut Courtois followed them, with Madrid winger Vinicius completing the top 10 along with Luka Modric and Erling Haaland.
“Benzema, well deserved, crack,” Neymar wrote on Twitter. “Now for Vinicius, finishing eighth is not right. At the very least he is among the top three.”
Benzema merecido 👏🏽👏🏽 craque!!
Agora o Vini jr estar em 8 não dá
Mínimo entre os 3
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) October 18, 2022
Vinicius, 22, had a fantastic outing with a Madrid team that won LaLiga, the Champions League and the Spanish Supercopa last season.
He ended the campaign with 22 goals in 52 appearances, also scoring the winner in May’s 1-0 Champions League final win over Liverpool.
His form has continued into this season. He has scored seven times in 14 appearances with Madrid still unbeaten in all competitions after Sunday’s Clasico win over Barcelona.
As is customary when individual awards are given out, there has been a lot of criticism over the winners and the overall rankings.
Madrid goalkeeper Courtois bemoaned positional bias and said it is “impossible” for a goalkeeper to claim the Ballon d’Or, while mixed reaction trailed the decision to award Gavi the Kopa Trophy.
The Barcelona midfielder saw off competition from Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga, Bayern’s Jamal Musiala and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham to win the prize given to the best footballer under the age of 21.
Bayern and Canada left-back Alphonso Davies voiced his opinion on the subject on social media, saying it should have gone to his teammate Musiala.
“They may have denied you of your Kopa Trophy, but they won’t deny you of your future Ballon d’Or #GoldenBoy,” he wrote.
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann also felt Musiala or Bellingham would have been more worthy winners than Gavi.
“Of course, there is club bias, but usually I also have my own opinion,” Nagelsmann said in a news conference.
“I would have voted otherwise. Musiala and Bellingham have had better seasons than the winner. From my point of view, those two are ahead of Gavi.
“[But] Gavi is a great footballer, with a lot of talent. The award was not undeserved. He has a a real winning mentality for his age.”