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England's Ballon d'Or voting representative explained his pick after ceremony finished

England's Ballon d'Or voting representative explained his pick after ceremony finished

The Times writer Henry Winter explained his Ballon d'Or vote following Lionel Messi's win.

England's representative in the Ballon d'Or vote has explained why he voted for Lionel Messi and not Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe.

As predicted, Messi scooped his record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or title at the Theatre du Chatelet on Monday night as those in attendance in Paris handed the 36-year-old a standing ovation.

In total, 100 journalists from FIFA's top-ranked member nations picked out five players from the 30-player shortlist, ranking each player from 1-5 with the votes allocated in descending order.

A number of England players featured in the shortlist, including Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham, who has been a revelation for Real Madrid following his summer move.

But on Monday night, The Times' chief football writer Henry Winter revealed that he voted for Lionel Messi.

"In casting England’s votes for the Ballon d’Or, I thought long and hard about the respective claims of the magnificent Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé, studied their stellar stats and best clips, and came back to Messi," he wrote in his column.

He added: "In assessing and selecting the Ballon d’Or, inevitably much weight is placed on success in the Champions League and in tournaments. The game is about trophies, and Messi’s performance in Qatar sealed first place and six points from this judge.

"Messi was on a mission out there, absolutely driven with the obsession of winning the World Cup. Messi’s career, even one as glittering as his, with four Champions Leagues, needed this nirvana in Qatar."

Winter handed his runners-up vote to Erling Haaland, who was tipped by many to win the award after contributing 52 goals to Manchester City's treble-winning campaign.

Kylian Mbappe was his third pick and picked up three points from Winter, while City midfielder Rodri came in fourth.

Winter also explained why he doesn't usually vote for England players in the Ballon d'Or.

"One of the questions I get asked is why, as the English judge for the Ballon d’Or, that I don’t vote more for English players," the writer said.

"The answer is simple, none have been good enough since Michael Owen’s remarkable season in 2001, holding off Raúl and Oliver Kahn to win. Frank Lampard (148 points) and Steven Gerrard (142) were closest to Ronaldinho (225) in 2005."

Image credit: France Football
Image credit: France Football

He added: "Over the past 12 months, an English prodigy has excelled at a World Cup and is now Real Madrid’s most important player.

"I put Jude Bellingham in fifth place (one point) for his maturity on and off the field, his hunger to learn and win, his desire to take responsibility and his increasing attacking threat. He is a future England captain. And, along with Haaland and Mbappé, a member of a thrilling generation that gradually succeeds the Messi-Ronaldo Ballon d’Or era.

"But this time, a final hurrah, a World Cup final hurrah, belongs to Messi."

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Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland