Football

Absurd that Messi is fifth: Valverde

Barca coach Valverde unhappy with Ballon d'Or

Lionel Messi's fifth-placed finish in this year's Ballon d'Or vote was absurd, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said of the Spanish champions' Argentina forward on Tuesday.

Real Madrid's Croatia midfielder Luka Modric took the prize on Monday in Paris after winning the Champions League and being named Player of the Tournament at this year's World Cup in Russia.

The 33-year-old's triumph ended Messi's and Cristiano Ronaldo's decade-long reign, with Juventus' Portugal striker finishing second and Messi fifth in a vote by 180 journalists, reported Reuters.

"I will not get into discussing the inconsistencies of the prize," said Valverde.

"We congratulate Modric for winning the Ballon d'Or, but Messi being in fifth place is absurd."

Messi, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, led Barca to a La Liga-Copa del Rey double last season, but Argentina went out of the World Cup in the last 16 to eventual champions France.

The Barca No. 10 also won a record fifth European Golden Shoe after finishing with 34 top-flight goals last season.

Modric got 753 points followed by Ronaldo on 476, Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann with 414 and Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe was fourth with 347, ahead of Messi on 280.

Griezmann, 27, was another one who was left disappointed by the results.

He congratulated arch-rival Modric for becoming the first Croat to win the Ballon d'Or , but can't help feeling disappointed that he had missed out despite winning the World Cup.

The French forward said: "I am very happy with my year 2018. I won the Europa League, I won the Super Cup and the World Cup so it's a great year.

"A little disappointed (to miss out on the Ballon d'Or), but it was a big night to celebrate the winners so I had to be there."

But when asked to choose between the Ballon d'Or and World Cup, Griezmann said: "The World Cup!"

"We congratulate Modric for winning the Ballon d'Or, but Messi being in fifth place is absurd."

- Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde

Football