David Alaba received racist abuse by purported Real Madrid supporters, after it was revealed he voted for Lionel Messi at Monday night’s The Best FIFA awards ceremony in Paris, The Athletic reports.
Alaba, as Austria’s captain, was required to submit a vote on who he thinks are the top three footballers in world football.
Real Madrid fans were angered by the fact Alaba voted for Messi in first place ahead of club team-mate Karim Benzema and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe.
But Alaba, 30, has since taken to Twitter to say Austria’s national team submitted the vote collectively rather than individually allowing the captain to decide the standings.
“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 and I have often said that for me he is the best striker in the world, and that is still the case. Without doubt.”
Alaba, who joined the Spanish champions in July 2021, was targeted on social media with Real Madrid fans allegedly posting monkey and gorilla emojis on his most recent Instagram post.
Real Madrid fans also wrote “Alaba Out” as they revealed their disdain at his apparent selections.
As well as captaining Argentina to victory at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Messi also won his first Ligue 1 title with PSG.
Messi scored 11 goals in 34 appearances for PSG during his first season in France. He has netted 17 times in 28 games for his current employers during the current campaign.
At the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Messi scored seven goals and provided three assists in seven matches.
He scored two goals during a thrilling 3-3 draw with France in the final and also netted his penalty in the resulting shootout.