Sudan national football team head coach Zdravko Logarusic has sensationally claimed that world football governing body, Fifa, might have rigged in Lionel Messi as the world’s best player in 2019.
The Argentine, who turns out for Spanish giants Barcelona, scooped the prestigious award at the Best FIFA Football Awards in Milan on Monday night, beating Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) and Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) to second and third place.
African duo Mohamed Salah (Egypt) and Sadio Mane (Senegal) both of Liverpool ended up in fourth and fifth place respectively.
But Logarusic, who has previously coached Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards in the Kenyan Premier League, says he initially voted for the Egyptian only to find out that Fifa had changed his votes.
“In my vote, I picked Mohamed Salah in the first place, Sadio Mane in the second and Kylian Mbappe in third,” Logarusic told Nairobi News.
“I took a photo of the voting application after I signed it with the Sudan Football Association and I don’t know what happened afterwards,” he explained.
After the breakdown of votes was revealed by Fifa, the results showed that Logarusic voted for Messi in the first place, Van Dijk in second and Mane in third.
This comes as a huge disappointment for Salah as Fifa had earlier also refused to take any votes from Egypt into account which forced the Egyptian Football Association to take action.
The selection criteria for this award is determined by sporting performance, as well as general conduct on and off the pitch.
The votes are thereafter decided by national team coaches, national team captains and selected journalists.
There have been suggestions that African players have been overlooked for this award since former AC Milan star George Weah, now the President of Liberia, won it in 1995.