Fabio Capello has accused Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of showing a “lack of respect” by not attending FIFA’s The Best awards on Monday where Luka Modric won the Best Men’s Player gong.
It was the first time in over a decade that someone other than Messi or Ronaldo scooped FIFA’s top men’s award, and Capello said the duo should have been at the London ceremony, per TVE (h/t MailOnline’s James Ayles):
“The absence of Ronaldo and Messi? It is a lack of respect, for the players, for FIFA and for the world of football. It is possible that they won too much and do not like to lose. In life you have to be good when you win and when you lose.”
Ronaldo, 33, was one of the three finalists for the Best Men’s Player award along with Modric and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
And although Messi was controversially left off the final shortlist despite a stellar 2017-18 campaign, he was nominated for the Puskas Award, which was won by Salah.
Both players were also included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI and were the only two absentees when the team was presented on stage at the Royal Festival Hall.
Modric triumphed on Monday with almost 30 per cent of the total votes.
He is the first player not named Messi or Ronaldo to win the award since Kaka in 2007.
The Croatian’s key role in leading his country to the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup likely tipped the scales in his favour.
Ronaldo was arguably even more crucial than Modric to Real Madrid winning their third consecutive UEFA Champions League last term.
Meanwhile, Messi led Barcelona to a domestic double in 2017-18 and also won the European Golden Shoe after netting 34 La Liga goals.
However, neither enjoyed particularly fruitful World Cups, with both Portugal and Argentina going out of Russia 2018 at the last-16 stage.
As noted by football writer Graham Ruthven, performances in major international tournaments consistently have a key impact on individual awards despite their relative brevity compared to a full club season.
Modric is now the favourite to also pick up the Ballon d’Or when it is awarded in December.