Ballon d'Or voting: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo omit each other
It's a tradition as old as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's annual place on the Ballon d'Or finalist podium: The two individual rivals leaving each other off their respective ballots.
FIFA released the voting breakdown for the Ballon d'Or, and Messi, this year's winner, had Barcelona teammates Neymar, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta on his top three, while Ronaldo, this year's runner-up, voted for Real Madrid teammates Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale. Neymar, the third-place finisher, voted for Barcelona's Messi, Suarez and Ivan Rakitic (National team coaches and captains and a media representative from each FIFA nation account for the ballots).
The voting also revealed that Robert Lewandowski and Suarez rounded out the top five.
As for some of the other ballots that stood out: U.S. men's national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann (who left Ronaldo and Messi off his 2014 ballot entirely in favor of Franck Ribery, Gareth Bale and Radamel Falcao) selected Messi-Neymar-Ronaldo on his ballot, while U.S. captain Michael Bradley voted for Messi-Ronaldo-Suarez. The USA's media representative, Soccer America's Paul Kennedy, selected Messi-Ronaldo-Neymar.
Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio neglected to include any of the finalists on his ballot, opting for the Bayern Munich trio of Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Arturo Vidal.
Other players garnering first-place votes included Lewandowski, Suarez, Bale, Iniesta, Neuer, Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Yaya Toure, Javier Mascherano, Sergio Aguero, Arjen Robben, Kevin de Bruyne, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.