FIFA held their inaugural edition of ‘THE BEST’ award show on Monday, February 27.
It was a grand event glittered with the world’s very best football players and saw the absolute cream of the crop rewarded for their heroics across 2022.
After their impressive World Cup 2022 win, Argentina and their players were at the centre of the spotlight at the shows.
Emiliano Martinez bagged the Best Goalkeeper award for his amazing work at the World Cup. Lionel Scaloni also bagged the Best Coach award ahead of the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola.
But the biggest prize was kept for the last.
This one was ‘The Best Men’s Player of the Year’ crown – which was won by none other than Lionel Messi.
The PSG star faced some stiff competition from his club teammate Kylian Mbappe – who was the 2022 World Cup Golden Boot winner – as well as Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema.
After the way in which Messi inspired Argentina to win their first World Cup in 36 years, it wasn’t exactly a surprise to see him bag his 7th such FIFA award.
He won the vote-based award and won 52 of the scoring points, eight more than second-place Mbappe.
Who did Alaba vote for?
FIFA’s The Best awards are based on votes from captains of national teams as well as national team coaches.
Considering how widely admired Messi really is, it isn’t surprising to see him win the award. However, what surprised some fans was how Real Madrid defender and Austria captain David Alaba voted.
The centre-back decided to vote for Messi as his best player of 2022, ahead of his club teammate Karim Benzema.
This has left some Real Madrid fans absolutely fuming and shocked at how Alaba could betray his teammate and vote for a player who is widely regarded as a ‘rival’ among the Madridistas – because of his roots at Barcelona.
Alaba faces fan wrath for Messi vote
Some Real Madrid supporters absolutely lost their minds after Alaba’s choices were made public.
The hashtag #AlabaOut started to trend on Twitter soon after the award show was over, with supporters absolutely adamant about wanting the Austrian centre-back to be sold after an ‘act of betrayal’.
As things go on social media these days, the abuses soon degraded to something vile and disgusting. Some Real Madrid supporters invaded the comments section of Alaba’s Instagram posts and started to throw out shocking racial abuse towards him.
They started to fill his comments with monkey emojis as well as comments like AlabaOut, venting out their fury at the Austrian defender.
The Real Madrid centre-back had to explain his decision after being a victim of so many hate comments on social media.
The latest of ugly instances from Madridistas
Real Madrid supporters might be renowned for their passionate support for their clubs, but sometimes a few can go really extreme with their ‘passion’. The racial abuse of Alaba is another example of that, but not the first time the supporters of Los Blancos racially abused their own players.
They even did it with January signing Endrick before he officially joined the club.
The Brazilian youngster just posted a harmless tweet in which he wrote about his admiration for Messi. Just for doing that, he was harassed and racially abused by some supporters – to the point he had to delete his tweet.
Even some match goers at the Santiago Bernabeu can sometimes lose their minds and go on insulting tirades during games.
In 2014, just after winning their ‘La Decima’ Champions League crown, UEFA struck Real Madrid with a stadium ban for one Champions League game because of their supporters’ racist abuses at Bayern Munich players in the knockout rounds earlier in the 2013/14 edition.
Madrid were ordered to partially close a part of the Santiago Bernabeu for one game as a punishment.
They were also told to put banners of ‘No to Racism’ in the sections that were closed. Moreover, earlier in the 2013/14 season – some Real fans were also seen hurling racial abuses at Barcelona players during the Copa Del Rey final – which Los Blancos won.
Alaba clarifies his vote
He posted a story on his Instagram account, detailing the reasons behind his choosing Messi over Benzema in the vote.
Alaba wrote: “Regarding FIFA The Best Award: The Austrian National team voted for this award as a team, not me alone. Everyone in the team council is able to vote and that’s how its decided.
“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.”
So it’s clear that the decision to choose Messi over Benzema was not his personal opinion, but one he had to make after taking the opinion of the entire Austrian national team – even if that meant taking abuses from his own fans.
Benzema is unlikely to take any offence for Alaba’s choices – with the two focused on helping Los Blancos end the season with major trophies.