Real Madrid player and Austria skipper, David Alaba on Tuesday cleared the air on why he voted for Lionel Messi to win FIFA's The Best Award.
The defender has come under harsh criticism for picking Barcelona legend Messi over his own Bernabeu team-mate Karim Benzema.
Alaba reportedly voted for Messi first, Benzema second and Kylian Mbappe third.
World Cup winner Messi eventually claimed the biggest prize of the night with 52 votes, beating the likes of Mbappe and Benzema, both of whom earned 44 and 32 votes respectively.
Upon learning of how the Austria national team captain voted, Madridistas rained horrific abuses on the Champions League winner for his preference.
This then prompted Alaba to take to his verified Twitter page to explain to Madrid supporters that his choice was influenced by the Austrian national team.
"Regarding FIFA The Best Award: 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, " a part of his tweet read.
Alaba added that voting for Messi doesn't change his opinion of Benzema, saying: "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."
Regarding FIFA The Best Award:
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.
Everyone knows, especially Karim, how much I admire him and his performances
— David Alaba (@David_Alaba) February 28, 2023