Neymar has criticized the Ballon d’Or rankings for this year, saying that Vinicius Junior, a teammate from Brazil, ought to be higher.
The 30-player Ballon d’Or shortlist did not include Neymar, and the Brazil superstar was not pleased with Vinicius’ standing among his international teammates.
The Real Madrid player Vinicius finished eight in the standings this year as his clubmate and attacking partner Karim Benzema took home his first Ballon d’Or trophy on Monday night.
Sadio Mane, a forward for Bayern Munich, and Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne rounded out the top three.
Neymar, who was completely left off of the 30-player shortlist, criticized the decision to not place Vinicius, with whom he lines up for Brazil at the international level, in the top three.
The gifted attacker was a key player as Real Madrid won La Liga and made history in Europe by scoring the decisive goal in this year’s Champions League final.
In both the league and the Champions League last year, he scored 21 goals and contributed 20 assists.
Neymar sent a message congratulating Benzema on his victory but also criticizing Vinicius not being placed higher.
“Benzema earned it. Being eight, though, is impossible for Vini. He ought to be at the very least among the top three.”
Despite Neymar’s criticism, others have defended Vinicius’ rating, seeing his top-eight position as recognition for his strong season in the Spanish capital and his contribution at international level in the run-up to this winter’s World Cup finals.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti made the following remarks regarding the forward’s standing: “It’s fair, in my opinion, since it gives him the chance to attempt to improve on what he accomplished the year prior.”
Vinicius placed last in the standings, trailing players like Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid, Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, and others.
The Belgian goalie also took issue with the ranking, saying that a goalkeeper had “no chance” of taking home the top honor.
Courtois remarked following the ceremony: “I believe it is difficult to win the Ballon d’Or. Your team triumphs in La Liga and the Champions League because of your stops, yet you only manage to place seventh. At least they made the best goalie trophy.”
Iker Casillas, a renowned goalkeeper with Los Blancos, shared the criticisms of the Belgian and questioned what a No. 1 must accomplish to get to a better ranking.