Ballon d'Or: Tactical voting revealed as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi don't vote for one another... and what was Roy Hodgson thinking?

England manager Roy Hodgson casts inexplicable vote...

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The Independent Football

The voting for the Ballon d'Or has been revealed and once again it was full of tactical voting, with the two front runners, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, not picking the other in their top three.

Voting was made by the captain and coach of each Fifa nation, as well as one journalist from each country.

As both Ronaldo (Portugal) and Messi (Argentina) captain their nations, they each got a vote.

Lionel Messi voted for Argentina team-mate Angel Di Maria in first

The Real Madrid superstar, eventual winner of the award for the second year in a row, made it clear who his friends in football were, giving all three votes to Real Madrid team-mates who were never going to challenge him for the gong.

He gave his first choice to Sergio Ramos (giving him five points), picked Gareth Bale second (three points) and Karim Benzema third (one point).

Similarly Messi went for his team-mates; former Real Madrid man Angel Di Maria, now at Manchester United, was first, Barcelona stalwart Andres Iniesta was second and Javier Mascherano was third.

Messi no doubt had a word with his national manager Gerardo Martino, who voted for Messi in first, Di Maria in second and Mascherano in third. Messi was nowhere to be found in Portugal boss Fernando Santos' top three - Ronaldo was top ahead of rival Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben.Cristiano-Ronaldo.jpg

Ronaldo clearly canvassed Real Madrid and Spain captain Iker Casillas, who snubbed Messi in favour of Ramos and Thomas Mueller, and England skipper Wayne Rooney, who voted Ronaldo first with Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale third. 

While Ronaldo and Messi are seen as the two stand out players by most in the world, some captains, managers and media men clearly had other ideas.

Philipp Lahm, Thibaut Courtois, Manuel Neuer, James Rodriguez, Arjen Robben, Bale and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all received first-choice votes from various voters.

Roy Hodgson cast the most outlandish vote

But by far the most outlandish vote was made by somebody a little closer to home. Unfortunately for England fans, the man leading the Three Lions, Roy Hodgson, voted Javier Mascherano as the best player in the world in 2014.

Now it's hard to argue that the Barcelona and Argentina man is one of the very best players in the world. It's also hard to argue that he had an utterly excellent World Cup, and was probably (even including Messi) Argentina's most consistent performer in Brazil.

But was Mascherano really the best player in the whole world across the whole of 2014, Roy?

Hodgson decided that Javier Mascherano was the best player of 2014

Ronaldo eventually won 37.66 per cent of the total votes, ahead of Messi in second who won 15.76 per cent. The Barcelona man just shaded Manuel Neuer, who had 15.72. Arjen Robben was fourth with 7.17 per cent.

To see the full voting click here.