Ballon d'Or: Official Fan Poll Taken Down After Two Players Receive 79% of Over 700,000 Votes
What's the story?
France Football, the French football magazine that awards the Ballon d'Or to the best footballer of the year, has taken down a fan poll after it was hijacked by fans of two players.
Before the poll was taken down, Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi had received 48% of the votes while Liverpool's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah had received 31% of the votes.
The next highest vote-getter was last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Juventus and Portugal) with 8%.
In case you didn't know...
France Football had recently announced the final 30-man shortlist for the 2018 Ballon d'Or. The 30 names were announced five at a time and the final list did create a debate on those who were included and those who missed out.
However, the Ballon d'Or is not decided by a fan vote. Unlike FIFA's 'The Best' award where the fans' vote accounts for 25% of the total vote, the Ballon d'Or winner is decided by votes cast by an esteemed panel of journalists from around the world with one representative from each country.
Heart of the matter
Although the Ballon d'Or winner is not decided by the fans, it did not stop France Football from putting up a poll online. Fans were asked to pick one player from their list of 30 players and the votes were tallied.
At first, it was Mohamed Salah who was in the lead with over 50% of the vote; understandable as his fans from Egypt (and presumably Liverpool) hijacked the vote.
It was one of the reasons why he won the Puskas Award for Goal of the Year at the FIFA Best awards even though most fans felt there were more deserving candidates. The Puskas Award is voted for only by the fans and Salah had won the award with 38% of the votes.
However, once word of the poll got out, the word spread like wildfire and Messi's fans jumped in on the act to vote for their idol.
At the time the poll was taken down, over 700,000 votes had been cast with Messi getting 48% of the votes while Salah's vote percentage dropped down to 31%. Ronaldo had 8% while other major candidates such as Luka Modric and Kylian Mbappe barely received any votes in comparison.
The winner of the prestigious award will be announced on 3 December at a ceremony in Paris. While the award has been dominated by both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - who have won it five times each - there is a possibility that Modric could end the duopoly.
The Croatian midfielder won the Champions League for a third straight time and also led his country to their first-ever World Cup final. The 33-year-old picked up the UEFA Player of the Year award and the FIFA Best award and is one of the favourites to win the Ballon d'Or as well.
Also read: Ballon d'Or Power Ranking - October 2018