MILAN: —- Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe took the top prizes at La Scala as world federation FIFA crowned its top men’s and women’s players of the year at The Best awards ceremony.
The Argentina and Barcelona star was recognised by FIFA as player of the year for a record sixth time while Rapinoe capped an impeccable season that saw her lead the United States to their second consecutive Women’s World Cup victory in France.
The Americans’ success in France also gave Jill Ellis the title of Women’s Coach of the Year, an accolade that, on the men’s side, was picked up by German Jürgen Klopp, who guided Liverpool to UEFA Champions League glory.
Brazilian Alisson Becker, also of Liverpool FC, was chosen as The Best FIFA Goalkeeper, a distinction that was also introduced this year for women’s football and saw Dutch Sari van Veenendaal voted as its maiden recipient.
Thousands of football players from around the world cast their votes for this season’s FIFA FIFPro World11, as well as, for the first time, for this FIFPro Women’s World11:
Men’s team: Alisson Becker – Matthijs de Ligt, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Virgil van Dijk – Frenkie de Jong, Eden Hazard, Luka Modrić – Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi
Women’s team: Sari van Veenendal – Lucy Bronze, Nilla Fischer, Kelley O’Hara, Wendie Renard – Julie Ertz, Amandine Henry, Rose Lavelle – Marta, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe.
Former Dutch star Ruud Gullit and Italian presenter Ilaria D’Amico hosted the ceremony which included three other awards:
Puskas award: Dániel Zsóri – the 18-year-old’s bicycle kick for Debrecen FC against Ferencváros TC in the Hungarian top flight on 16 February was voted as the best goal of the season.
Fan award: Silvia Grecco – fans from around the world voted for Silvia Grecco, the mother who narrates the matches of Palmeiras to her blind son, Nickollas. The Brazilian’s story received 58.36pc of votes.
Fair play award: Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United – the Argentinian and his players were commended their sportsmanship during a decisive EFL Championship match against Aston Villa on April 28. After seeing his team take the lead with a goal when a Villa player was down injured, Bielsa instructed his players to deliberately allow their opponents to equalise straight from the restart.
The winners of The Best player and coach awards were determined through a voting process in which four groups had an equal say: football fans, selected media representatives, and the captains and head coaches of national teams from around the globe.
A breakdown of the voting results, including each nominee’s points total, is available here.
Below is the complete list of how the captains and coaches of national teams from around the world voted: