The recently concluded FIFA The Best awards did not go down well at Real Madrid. Having overcome several hurdles on their way to a special UEFA Champions League title, whilst delivering some of the best comebacks ever seen in football, many felt that the Merengues deserved more representations and first-place finishes.
However, their achievements were overshadowed by the FIFA World Cup and Lionel Messi’s completion of football as Argentina dominated the ceremony on all fronts.
David Alaba was one of the few Real Madrid players given the chance to vote for the prize, and it was revealed that the Austrian captain picked Lionel Messi over his teammate Karim Benzema.
The revelation did not go down well with fans, who resorted to hurling abuse at the defender. Following the events, Alaba has been forced to explain his action on his social media account.
“The Austrian national team vote for this award as a team, not me alone. Everyone in the team council is able to vote and that’s how it’s decided,” Alaba’s statement read.
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.”
The Real Madrid player’s explanation seems to have calmed the storm that was unnecessarily blown out of proportion from the very start.
Messi won the best player award by an overwhelming majority while Lionel Scaloni beat Carlo Ancelotti to the best manager accolade. Real Madrid did not even win on the goalkeeper front, with Thibaut Courtois finishing behind Emiliano Martinez.
Around the time of the awards, Benzema posted a cryptic post on his social media that signalled favouritism. It remains to be seen if FIFA’s decision to deny him the award pushes him to greater success this season.
UFC Champion to kick off Real Madrid vs Sevilla, sends message to Mbappe: “Lucky to play for the best club in the world”
Coming on the back of his triumph at UFC, Featherweight champion Ilia Topuria has announced he will take honorary kick-off in the upcoming Real Madrid vs Sevilla in La Liga this weekend.
Topuria confirmed this in a recent press conference in the Spanish capital this midweek.
A self-proclaimed Madridista, Topuria expressed his deep connection with the club and even sent a message to Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to join the club on a free transfer this summer.
Ilia Topuria: A hardcore Madridista
Ilia Topuria did not hold back his affection for Real Madrid, stating, “For me, the team that represents the values of Spain the most is Real Madrid.”
The Georgian-Spaniard UFC champion went on to confirm that he will meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off.
“I’m going to meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off,” he said (h/t Mundo Deportivo).
Although born in Germany, Topuria made Spain proud last Saturday when he beat Alexander Volkanovski in the second round. In the process, he became the first fighter from Spain to capture a UFC belt.
Topuria’s triumph has granted him overnight success in Spain, with the 27-year-old even becoming a cultural icon for many.
Topuria’s message for Mbappe
Other than professing his love for Real Madrid, Ilia Topuria also had a message for Mbappe.
When asked about the Frenchman potentially joining Real Madrid this summer, he said, “Welcome. He’s lucky to play for the best club in the world.”
Real Madrid, for their part, also congratulated Topuria on his triumph. “Congratulations on your historic triumph for Spanish sport, Ilia Topuria. We are proud that a great Real Madrid fan like you becomes UFC world champion,” the club posted on X.
Real Madrid fans, meanwhile, will be excited to witness Topuria taking the honorary kickoff as Los Blancos take on Sevilla this weekend, with three crucial points on the line.