Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi The Best FIFAGetty/GOAL

Explained: Why Cristiano Ronaldo didn't cast a vote at FIFA Best awards as Lionel Messi wins men's player of the year for second time

  • Argentine superstar takes top prize
  • Portuguese icon a two-time winner
  • Not involved at all in 2023 ceremony

WHAT HAPPENED? A glitzy ceremony in Paris saw seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi recognised as the best player on the planet following his talismanic showings for Argentina in a triumphant 2022 World Cup campaign. He topped a poll made up of selections from national team captains and coaches from across the planet, with Ronaldo expected to form part of that process after skippering Portugal on 136 occasions over the course of a record-setting international career.

WHY DIDN'T RONALDO CAST A VOTE? Five-time Golden Ball winner Ronaldo did not cast any votes in the Best poll, with FIFA confirming that veteran defender Pepe took on those responsibilities for Portugal in the wake of a World Cup finals that saw Ronaldo restricted to bench duty on a regular basis. Pepe gave his top pick to France and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe, before opting for his former Real Madrid colleagues Luka Modric and Karim Benzema in second and third spots respectively.


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Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Morocco Marrocos 10 12 2022Getty Images

Pepe PortugalGetty Images

Messi PSGGetty

THE BIGGER PICTURE: New Portugal boss Roberto Martinez, who was in charge of Belgium at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar, voted for Argentina icon Messi ahead of Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and PSG forward Mbappe.

WHAT'S NEXT: Ronaldo – who won the first two FIFA Best men’s awards that were handed out in 2016 and 2017 – received no votes at all this time around as he was not named on the list of nominees. He was also ineligible to cast any personal vote after being left off the final shortlist. For now, the 38-year-old is focused on making the best of a fresh start he has taken in with Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Nassr.