Chelsea defender Thiago Silva has labelled FIFA’s Best awards a ‘joke’ after Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez finished high up the final list.

On Monday, Lionel Messi was crowned the Best FIFA Men’s Player, as voted by media representatives, national team coaches, national team captains and supporters, ahead of Benzema and Kylian Mbappe.

While few could have issue with the top three, the rest of the 14-man shortlist made for some interesting reading, with Luka Modric, Haaland, and Sadio Mane finishing fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

But, eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that Alvarez had come seventh despite being not being a regular player for Man City or Argentina.

And he has scored just five Premier League goals since moving to the Etihad last summer, though he netted four in Qatar as Argentina won the World Cup.

With 17 votes to his name, the 23-year-old attacker finished ahead of Neymar, Kevin De Bruyne, Vinicius Junior, Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah.

Some could not understand how this came to be, not least Silva who also took to Instagram to post the words: ‘Joke right there,’ in reference to Alvarez’s ranking.

But the forward has his defenders, not least his international skipper Messi who showered the player with praise after the ceremony.

‘During the whole World Cup, he was extraordinary,’ the 35-year-old said.

‘He ran everything. He fought for everything – creating chances, fighting. For us, he was the surprising discovery, and he deserves everything that has happened to him because he is a lovely guy.’

Alavrez was recently in action for Man City in the FA Cup victory at Bristol City on Tuesday, providing the assist for Phil Foden’s second goal.

He will hope to be in the starting lineup again for the Citizens’ big match on Saturday when they host Newcastle as they look to close the gap to Premier League leaders Arsenal.

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