The Real Madrid defender voted for the Argentine ahead of his own teammate but later offered an explanation for this after suffering online abuse.

The Best FIFA Football Awards 2022 took place yesterday, with Lionel Messi beating Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe to be named The Best FIFA Men's Player. While the outcome wasn't surprising given the Argentine's FIFA World Cup win, one player raised a few eyebrows after voting for La Pulga.

That man is none other than David Alaba, Benzema's teammate at Real Madrid. Captains of the national team are allowed voting rights in this category and given that the Blancos defender wears the armband for Austria, his selection was made public.

The former Bayern Munich ace was the only Real Madrid player to vote for Messi, a Barcelona icon, ahead of Benzema, who led the Spanish giants to the UEFA Champions League and La Liga double last season. This thus sparked anger from Madridistas.

Sadly, some of the reactions online delved into the unacceptable territory, with Alaba suffering racist abuse. This forced the player to go public with an explanation of what happened, with the 30-year-old arguing that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Alaba took to social media to explain that his vote was decided by the national team, not him alone. The Austrian revealed that his countrymen all voted in a team council and that his decision to place Messi ahead of Benzema was merely a representation of that outcome.

"Regarding FIFA The Best Award," David wrote on Twitter.

"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," the player added.

While the racist abuse was an ugly thing to see, this controversy is unlikely to spark division in the Real Madrid dressing room. The Spanish giants are competing in three competitions and will need unity if they are to successfully defend their Spanish Primera Division and UEFA Champions League titles.

Next up for Los Blancos is an exciting showdown with Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. Unfortunately, Alaba looks unlikely to feature in this El Clasico after picking up an injury in the 5-2 win over Liverpool recently.