Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has described Lionel Messi’s fifth-place finish in the Ballon d’Or vote as “absurd”.
Messi is a five-time winner of the prize and shared the previous 10 with long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo but saw Real Madrid’s Luka Modric top the 2018 poll on Monday.
It is the first time Messi has finished outside the top three since 2006, with Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe all finishing ahead of him.
And while Valverde was reluctant to give his full verdict on the result, he conceded that seeing Messi down in fifth was difficult to comprehend.
“I’m not going to get into that, whether it’s right or wrong how an award ended up,” he said.
“I think the people who voted for it have to answer that. Everyone has their own opinion. To us it’s absurd.
“We congratulate Modric on his win.”
Barca host Cultural Leonesa in the second leg of their Copa del Rey last-32 clash on Wednesday, leading 1-0.