Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has appeared to aim a cheeky dig at his old nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo after winning the Ballon d’Or for a sixth time.
The Argentine won the award earlier this week, moving past Ronaldo in all-time victories, and also seeing off strong competition from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
It later emerged that Messi himself voted for Liverpool forward Sadio Mane to win the award, which may have come as a bit of a surprise to some.
The Senegal international has been in superb form of late, though if any Liverpool player were to win it, it should surely have been Van Dijk, who only narrowly missed out by as few as seven votes.
Still, Messi seemed to aim a sly dig at Ronaldo with his comments about Mane.
“It’s a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place,” the Barca ace said.
“But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That’s why it was difficult to choose a particular player.
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Gracias a @francefootball y a los periodistas que me votaron. Este premio no lo podría haber ganado sin la ayuda de mis compañeros, tanto del @fcbarcelona como de la @afaseleccion, por eso también es de todos ellos. Y por supuesto es de mi familia, a quienes también se lo dedico, y que tanto me apoyan cada día.
“But I chose Sadio Mane because he’s a player that I like.”
Messi will surely be aware that Ronaldo finished third, just above Mane, so we imagine the Portugal international will have noticed his rival say it was a ‘shame’ Mane only finished fourth.