Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk missed out on the Ballon d'Or by just two votes, leaked voting documents reveal.
The London Evening Standard says a leaked copy of France Football's voting records appears to show that Barcelona captain Lionel Messi beat Van Dijk to the Ballon d'Or crown by just two votes.
Messi won a record sixth Ballon d'Or at a ceremony in Paris on Monday evening, pipping Van Dijk to move ahead of great rival Cristiano Ronaldo's haul of five and take outright ownership of the record.
Van Dijk had been named Uefa's Men's Player of the Year in August, while Messi won Fifa's Best award, and the two could hardly be split when it came to France Football's Ballon d'Or award.
Of 2,816 points awarded, the top two were split by just seven, representing 0.25 per cent of the vote. Journalists from 176 nations were asked to select their top five from a shortlist of 30, distributing six, four, three, two or one point in order of preference.
And a leaked copy of France Football which is due to be published on December 4 appears to show that Messi was crowned winner by just seven points.