Carlo Ancelotti defended Vinicius Jr. as FIFA announced the names of the 12 players up for The Best award. There was controversy as the Brazilian was left absent.

As its name implies, the trophy is presented to the season’s top performer. As expected such names as Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Erling Haaland would feature prominently.

The star of Inter Miami now holds the most coveted individual accolade presented by the international soccer community. After leading Argentina to the World Cup victory in Qatar in 2022, he is a favorite.

You may also count on Haaland to be among the best candidates for the award. Because of his 52 goals in 2022-23, Manchester City won the Premier League, FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.

Meanwhile, Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain’s captain, has been consistent throughout his career. His 2022/23 season included a World Cup Final in which he scored a hat trick despite France’s defeat.

On the other hand, there has been much discussion in recent days over Vinicius‘ omission from the list.

Vinicius overlooked despite impressive form

The Brazilian sensation, who had a spectacular campaign, was notably absent from the list of candidates. In 55 total appearances with Madrid, he scored 23 goals and dished out 21 assists.

The winner of The Best Awarda is based on their achievements from December 19, 2022, to August 20, 2023. Vinicius was in superb form throughout this time, scoring 16 goals and adding 14 assists.

This helped Real Madrid on their way to two titles in the Copa del Rey and FIFA Club World Cup (per Transfermarkt).

Further, the 22-year-old was instrumental in Los Blancos’ run to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Only Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah, and Erling Haaland scored more goals than he did (30 in all competitions).

What did Ancelotti say about Vinicius?

Carlo Ancelotti delivered a snarky answer when asked during a news conference on Saturday about FIFA’s omission of the 23-year-old superstar.

“Vinicius was crying in the dressing room. I asked him ‘what’s going on’, and he said: ‘They haven’t put me on this list’. the Italian boss laughed and added, “He cried for three or four hours and we weren’t able to get him to stop.”

Photo credit: IMAGO / Marco Canoniero