Alaba explains Messi FIFA Best vote after receiving racist abuse
David Alaba has offered an explanation for his vote at the FIFA Best awards after he listed Lionel Messi ahead of his Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema.
Alaba was subjected to online abuse, including racist remarks, after his choice was made public with Madrid fans starting a hashtag of #AlabaOut after he voted for Messi first, Benzema second and Kylian Mbappe third.
The Austria captain took to Twitter to explain that the vote was not his alone, but that of his entire national team.
"Regarding FIFA The Best Award: The Austrian national team vote for this award as a team, not me alone," he wrote. "Everyone in the team council is able to vote and that's how it's decided.
"Everyone knows, especially Karim, how much I admire him and his performances and I have often said that for me he is the best striker in the world, and that is still the case. Without doubt."
Messi claimed the men's prize at an awards ceremony in Paris on Monday after leading Argentina to glory at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.