Brazil coach Tite has revealed Lionel Messi was not even in his top three for the FIFA Best Men's Player award.
The FIFA World Player of the Year has been rebranded once again after world football’s governing body ended their Ballon d’Or collaboration with France Football.
Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo received the Brazil coach’s top vote for the annual award, with Neymar second and France’s Antoine Griezmann in third.
“Messi is the best in the world, but in the past season the best was Cristiano Ronaldo,” Tite told Estado de S. Paulo.
“On their conquests this past year, Cristiano was better. Second to him was Neymar and third would be Griezmann.
“I left Messi out because he got injured a lot. Cristiano is direct and forceful, and has this fascination with goals.”
This year the FIFA Best Player award voting will be split. National team captains and coaches from around the world cast their three votes, which will make up 50 per cent of the voting.
The second half will be split between an online ballot and picks from over 200 media representatives.
Last year Neymar finished third, behind winner Messi and second-placed Cristiano. Ronaldinho was the last Brazilian to be awarded top individual prize, claiming back-to-back FIFA World Player of the Year gongs in 2004 and 2005.