Rome, Jan 12 (IANS) Italy didn’t cast a vote for the Ballon d’Or, reportedly in protest of captain Gianluigi Buffon not being nominated for the award given to the world’s footballer of the year.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi was awarded the prize at a ceremony in Zurich on Monday, but there was controversy earlier this year after Juventus’ iconic goalkeeper was left off the shortlist.
Captain Buffon himself and head coach Antonio Conte are entitled to cast their vote for any on the 49-man shortlist.
However, FIFA’s official breakdown of the voting shows that neither cast a vote, and Sky Sports claims that the Italian football governing body, FIGC, instructed them to abstain in protest at snub to Buffon.
Buffon’s Juventus teammate Paul Pogba was included in the FIFPro World XI, and expressed his surprise that the goalkeeper wasn’t nominated.
Buffon, who is still first choice for both his country and Serie A champions Juventus at 37 years old, did not make the preliminary list released in October.
Other ‘keepers chosen over him include Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer, Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea, David de Gea at Manchester United and Arsenal’s David Ospina.
The last time Buffon, who lifted an Italian treble with Juventus in 2015, was nominated for a Ballon d’Dor was in 2013.
He was nominated for the award for a sixth consecutive time in 2008 and finished runner-up in 2006. He was nominated for a Ballon d’Or for the first time in 1999 and finished in ninth place in the 2003 award.