Both Antonio Conte and Gianluigi Buffon did not submit a vote for the Ballon d’Or in a sign of protest against the Italian goalkeeper being left off the ballot.
To nobody’s surprise Barcelona forward Lionel Messi took home the honour on Monday, beating out Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and teammate Neymar to win his fifth award.
Although the star-studded gala rewarded the Argentine for his accomplishments in 2015, both Conte and Buffon, with the blessing of FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio, did not submit a vote as a form of protest against FIFA.
The move comes after Italian football was left stunned that the 37-year-old was not included on the ballot, with names like Manchester United’s David De Gea and Arsenal’s David Ospina named to the initial shortlist instead.
Buffon led the Bianconeri to the Scudetto and Coppa Italia in 2015, and was only denied a famous treble by Messi and Barcelona in the Champions League final thanks to the Spanish side’s 3-1 victory in Munich.
The decision marks the first time that the coach and captain of a country have failed to vote for the award, though they weren’t the only names to do so as Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas didn’t submit a ballot either, though his reasoning is unclear at this time.