By Tom Bodell, Football Whispers
FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says it is 'absurd' that Lionel Messi finished a lowly fifth place in Monday's Ballon d'Or vote.
With Cristiano Ronaldo finishing second to eventual winner Luka Modrić it's the first time since 2007 that neither Messi nor Ronaldo has lifted football's most prized individual award. On that occasion AC Milan midfielder Kaká was crowned the world's best player.
Indeed, the 31-year-old, who has won the award a joint-record five times, has not been outside of the top three in the voting since 2006 – a remarkable run of 12 years.
Despite being voted fifth overall, Messi enjoyed a fine 2018, winning La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de España, all while scoring 45 times and providing 23 assists for Barça.
His goalscoring form for the Blaugrana landed Messi the European Golden Shoe. But it was not enough to make the top three.
FIFA World Cup-winning duo Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann joined Juventus forward Ronaldo in earning more votes than the Argentine genius.
"We congratulate Modric for winning the Ballon d'Or but Messi being in fifth place is absurd," said Valverde.
"I will not get into discussing the inconsistencies of the prize."