Cristiano Ronaldo was named the The Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2016, but his pick for the award was Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale.
Relations between Ronaldo and Bale have often been reported as fractious after the Welshman broke the world transfer record – held by the Portuguese at the time – when he swapped Tottenham for the Santigo Bernabeu in 2013.
Bale won the Champions League with Madrid and helped Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals but was not named in the FIFA FIFPro World11, though he was Ronaldo’s first choice for the inaugural The Best award.
The 31-year-old kept all his selections in-house, with Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos following Bale respectively – fellow final-three members Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann were nowhere to be seen.
Ronaldo led the final results with 34.54 per cent of the vote, Messi claiming 26.42 per cent and Griezmann 7.53 per cent.
Delighted to win The Best FIFA award. Wouldn’t be possible without my teammates, coaches and you who support me every day. Thanks everyone! pic.twitter.com/1E1VkaYbTu
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) January 9, 2017
Unsurprisingly, Messi did not vote for his rival either, instead selecting Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez ahead of Neymar and Andres Iniesta respectively.
In a similar tactic James Rodriguez plumped for fellow Madrid stars Ronaldo, Modric and Bale, but the Croatian and Ramos had Messi down as their second choices behind the Portuguese.
Gabon captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has made no secret of his desire to play for Real Madrid one day, but his first pick was Barcelona forward Neymar, with Ronaldo beating Messi to second place in his selection.
Ronaldo was only the second choice of compatriot and Iran coach Carlos Queiroz, who was assistant manager during the winner’s time at Manchester United and is a former Portugal boss. Queiroz ranked Messi first and Suarez in third.
Ronaldo had the backing of current Portugal coach Fernando Santos after leading his country to Euro 2016 glory.
Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi submitted Alexis Sanchez as his first and only selection, while England captain Wayne Rooney voted for former United team-mate Ronaldo and opted for Jamie Vardy over Messi.
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) January 9, 2017