Italy duo abstain from Ballon d’Or vote

With the FIGC backing their decision, Antonio Conte and Gianluigi Buffon turned down the opportunity to name a winner for the prestigious award

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 12:  Head coach Italy Antonio Conte (L) and Gianluigi Buffon speak to the media during a press conference at King Baudouin Stadium on November 12, 2015 in Brussels, Belgium.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

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.

Gianluigi Buffon Juventus

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.

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