Berlin - Former Germany captain Philipp Lahm has slammed FIFA's Ballon d'Or award for the world player of the year as nothing more than a "marketing prize".
The Bayern Munich full-back said the award favoured "the most popular players" over more deserving ones.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi was handed the award for a record fifth time at a ceremony in Zurich on Monday. He and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo have shared the last eight Ballon d'Or awards between them.
"I think if FIFA wants to attribute a reward, it mustn't be a marketing prize that only honours the most celebrity individuals in the world of football," Lahm told goal.com.
Lahm said the vote might as well be had on social media site Facebook, before complaining about favouritism shown to forwards, describing the Ballon d'Or as an award for "attacker of the year".
"It's not my perspective as a bitter defender but the intangible voice of the statistics," he moaned.
"Maybe in a team sport there shouldn't be only one player (the forward) who is rewarded."
The 32-year-old said he would favour separate awards for the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward.
Since the start of the century, the only recipients of the Ballon d'Or award have been either forwards or attacking midfielders, with the exception of Italy's World Cup winning captain and centre-back Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.