Ballon d’Or coach votes revealed

The 2014 World Cup-winning coach looked around his dressing room before casting his vote for the Ballon d’Or, while others unsurprisingly followed suit

Cristiano Ronaldo was once again crowned Ballon d’Or, seeing off competition from Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer, with a comfortable margin of victory as he collected over 20 per cent more votes than his closest rivals.

However, there were plenty of coaches in international football who weren’t totally convinced that the Real Madrid and Portugal superstar was the best player in 2014.

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Among those is Germany coach Joachim Low who, despite being a World Cup winner and the recipient of the Fifa World Coach of the Year award, is not immune to the political nature of voting in the Ballon d’Or.

Low, who guided his country to success in Brazil over the summer, surprised no-one with his selections for the main category, won by Cristiano Ronaldo, with Lionel Messi second and Manuel Neuer third.

Ronaldo and Messi failed to make Low’s top three. Instead he plumped for Neuer as his first choice with two more Bayern Munich and Germany men rounding out his selections, Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

In Low’s defence, he was not alone in playing it safe. Argentina boss Gerardo Martino voted for three of his countrymen – Messi, Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano – while Portugal coach Fernando Santos chose his captain Ronaldo, followed by Neuer and Arjen Robben.

Contrastingly, Vicente del Bosque showed a comparative snub towards his Spain stars. After la Roja failed to get out of the group stage at World Cup 2014, the coach decided to ignore Andre Iniesta and Diego Costa, while Sergio Ramos was only his third choice behind Ronaldo and Lahm.

There is traditionally no love lost between South American rivals Brazil and Argentina and that was evident again with Selecao coach Dunga omitting Messi from his ballot paper. Instead he filled it with Neymar, Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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England’s Roy Hodgson surprisingly failed to vote for either Ronaldo or Messi, selecting Mascherano in first place followed by Lahm and Neuer.

In other left-field selections, Afghanistan boss Mohammad Yousef Kargar selected Ibrahimovic in first place while the coaches of El Salvador and Saudi Arabia went for Andres Iniesta, despite the Barcelona midfielder not enjoying his best year for club or country.

Javier Aguirre, the Mexican in charge of Japan, went for Thibaut Courtois. The Chelsea goalkeeper, who spent last season on loan at Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, finished 20th overall.