The FIFA World Player of the Year is among the most prestigious award presented to the best football player in the world every season. It is a global stature honoured to the best male player deemed to have performed better over the previous year, based on voting by an international jury consisting of national team captains, national coaches, members of the media and football fans. The Best FIFA Awards were launched in 2016 after France Football broke the Ballon d’Or away from world football’s governing body following corruption allegations.
Luka Modric is the current holder of this coveted award, he was crowned the 2018/19 winner ahead of Barcelona superstar- Lionel Messi and Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo for his fairytale performance where he led Croatia to their maiden FIFA World Cup final and played a major role for his club winning the Champions League last year. He finally broke the ice of dominance held by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for 10 long years. But again, this year both Messi and Ronaldo, who have both won 5 a piece are in the leading race along with Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk to claim the reward.
Just before the awards are announced, XploreSports jots down the stats and figures along with the silverware lifted by the particular nominees this season. This will certainly get you out from dilemma and the logic behind listing the following nominees will guide you to make a firm decision, unbiased. Messi? VVD or Ronaldo?
#3 Cristiano Ronaldo
|Nationality: Portuguese Club: Juventus Age: 34|
|The case for:|
|Won Serie A and named the league’s most valuable player.|
|Finished as club’s top goalscorer in all competitions and won Italian Super Cup.|
|Helped Portugal win Uefa Nations League as top goalscorer in the Nations League finals.|
Ronaldo made a big money move to Italy this season from his former club Real Madrid, thus ending his fierce rivalry with Messi in La Liga. He was welcomed in Turin with a big expectation to guide the Old Lady to lift the Champions League. With a reputation as the most accomplished goal scorer, Ronaldo failed to showcase himself in the Italian Serie A Top Scorer list. He scored 21 goals and provided 8 assists in 2689 minutes he played, averaging 128 minutes per goal with only 52% of his shots on target. He also scored 8 goals and provided 2 assists in the Champions League this season. But Ronaldo couldn’t regain his Champions league crown at his new club for which he was eventually bought.
Although, Ronaldo helped Juventus win their eighth consecutive Serie A title. Owing to his brilliance, Ronaldo won the Serie A Player of the Year award and he also helped his team win the Italian Super Cup scoring the winning goal. We all know that Ronaldo is a player who sets his benchmark at the big games and in the Champions League this season, Ronaldo netted all of Juve’s knockout goals. His sensational hat-trick against Atletico Madrid single-handedly took Juventus to the quarter-finals. Despite scoring against Ajax in both the legs of quarter-finals, he failed to take his side over the line but he became the first player to reach 100 wins and 125 goals in Champions League.
He ended his 2018/19 campaign in a bright note as he led Portugal to their 2nd silverware in the inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League where he scored a sublime hat-trick against Switzerland in the semi-finals. He also became the first player to win 10 UEFA titles and the first player to score in all national teams final stages: FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Cup, FIFA Confederations Cup and UEFA Nations League.
#2 Virgil Van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk
|Nationality: Dutch Club: Liverpool Age: 28|
|The case for:|
|Won Uefa Champions League.|
|Named the PFA Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Year.|
|Helped the Netherlands to Uefa Nations League final.|
2019 was not a FIFA World Cup year and thus the most prestigious tournaments which will be taken for consideration would be Copa America, followed by UEFA Nations League. While the Champions League will essentially be the key for the recipient of this award. Both Messi & Ronaldo failed to win the European crown this season and it was the Liverpool defender who was a key component for The Reds in winning the Champions League and also reaching new heights in England along with leading his country to the finals of UEFA Nations League.
Winning team trophies for their club and country is the main factor to decide the winner along with individual reckons like the most number of clean sheets, the man of the match awards etc. The 27-year-old Liverpool centre-back has marked himself as the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or accomplishing all the above aspects.
The big Dutchman was a vital player in Jürgen Klopp’s team to set up an exciting English top flight in history. Van Dijk collected the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Player of the Year award in 2018-19 and concluded his club campaign by being named man of the match in the finals of the Champions League against Tottenham. He had the pace, won every duel and was instrumental as a player to create an upset in the semifinals against Barcelona. He stood like a rock in defense and no opposition player could complete a dribble past Virgil Van Dijk in 64 appearances in all competition, we even saw players like Messi and Ronaldo struggling to dribble past VVD at essential stages of respective tournaments.
In the 2018/19 season, Van Dijk made 62 appearances in all competition and scored 9 goals, providing 4 assists with a successful pass percentage of 89.1% winning 4.3 ariel duels per game (most by any defender). Ballon d’Or is rarely awarded to a defender and Fabio Cannavaro was the last defender to win this award back in 2006. After the Champions League triumph, he also guided Netherlands to the final of UEFA Nations league losing to the hosts Portugal 1-0 in a completely dominating performance by Van Dijk. He could well start a new era for the defenders to be crowned with the most coveted individual trophy in football.
#1 Lionel Messi
|Nationality: Argentinian Club: Barcelona Age: 32|
|The case for:|
|Won La Liga and helped his side reach the Champions League semi-final and Copa del Rey final.|
|Claimed European Golden Shoe as continent’s top goalscorer and was La Liga’s top assist-maker.|
|Helped Argentina to bronze at 2019 Copa America.|
Messi citied to win the Champions League this season, as the little magician quoted this himself in the captain’s speech before the season began. His hopes were dashed as despite being 3-0 in aggregate Barcelona lost to Liverpool in the semi-finals. He guided Barcelona to lift their 26th La Liga title but failed to register a win despite scoring a goal against Valencia in the finals of the Copa Del Rey. Thus, registering only a single trophy this season. But on an individual level, keeping in mind that Ballon d’Or is an individual award given to the best performer this season, there hasn’t been anyone close to Leo Messi’s stats.
You probably already know that Messi scored more league goals than anyone else in Europe in 2018-19 (36, ahead of Kylian Mbappe’s 33). But Messi’s all-round magnificence is reflected in the fact that he was also among Europe’s top performers in assists (fifth), chances created in open play (third), dribbles completed (fourth), passes into the final third (second) and shots against the woodwork (first). He is a striker, playmaker and winger all rolled into one.
Those individual exploits led to silverware, too, with Messi inspiring Barcelona to a comfortably-earned league title, finishing 11 points ahead of Atletico Madrid.
He also excelled in the Champions League, easily topping the competition’s scoring charts (12). And before you throw Anfield in his face, note that Messi created more chances and had more shots on target than any other player in that dramatic second leg (including Liverpool players). It’s hardly his fault his team-mates forgot how to finish or defend.
He guided Barcelona to lift their 26th La Liga title but failed to register a win despite scoring a goal against Valencia in the finals of the Copa Del Rey. Thus, registering only a single trophy this season. But on an individual level, keeping in mind that Ballon d’Or is an individual award given to the best performer this season, there hasn’t been anyone close to Leo Messi’s stats.
In a prolific campaign this year the Argentina international netted 51 goals and single-handedly took Barcelona to another La Liga victory. He netted 51 goals in total, with 36 coming in LaLiga, 12 in the Champions League and 3 in the Copa del Rey that made him Europe’s top scorer and the European Golden Shoe winner. He was also included in the Champions League best XI and was the UCL top scorer this year. The feats achieved this 2018/19 season saw him breaking the 40-goal mark for a 10th consecutive season, reach the 600 goal milestone, fastest player in Europe to reach 20 league goals, First player to score 400 LaLiga goals, most LaLiga wins as a player, LaLiga top scorer, LaLiga top assister, Most goals- 51. Most assists- 19, Most hat tricks- 4, Most free kick goals- 8 that won him the Golden Boot 2018/19. With all these top-notch records and definable metrics, the Barcelona star has the best chance of winning The Best FIFA Football awards.
Here is the complete Nominations list-
The Best FIFA Men’s Player:
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal/Juventus
- Lionel Messi, Argentina/Barcelona
- Virgil van Dijk, Netherlands/Liverpool
The Best FIFA Women’s Player:
- Lucy Bronze, England/Olympique Lyonnais Feminin
- Alex Morgan, USA/Orlando Pride
- Megan Rapinoe, USA/Reign FC
The Best FIFA Men’s Coach:
- Pep Guardiola, Spain/Manchester City
- Jurgen Klopp, Germany/Liverpool
- Mauricio Pochettino, Argentina/Tottenham Hotspur
The Best FIFA Women’s Coach:
- Jill Ellis, USA national team
- Phil Neville, England national team
- Sarina Wiegman, Netherlands
The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper:
- Alisson Becker, Brazil/Liverpool
- Ederson, Brazil/Manchester City
- Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Germany/Barcelona
The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper
- Christiane Endler, Chile/Paris Saint-Germain
- Hedvig Lindahl, Sweden/Chelsea/VfL Wolfsburg
- Sari van Veenendaal, Netherlands/Arsenal/Atlético Madrid
FIFA Puskas Award:
- Lionel Messi (Argentina): Real Betis v. FC Barcelona (La Liga,17 March 2019)
- Juan Fernando Quintero (Colombia): River Plate v. Racing Club (Superliga Argentina, 10 February 2019)
- Daniel Zsori (Hungary): Debrecen FC v Ferencvaros TC (Hungarian First Division, 16 February 2019)
Follow The Live Football Awards Updates-
Daniel Zsori won the FIFA Puskas award while Juergen Klopp bagged The Best Men’s Coach award. The Netherlands’ Sari van Veenendaal won the Women’s Goalkeeper award for her heroic World Cup performance. Alisson Becker was awarded the best Men’s Goalkeeper honour. The first-ever Women’s World XI was also announced. The Best Women’s Coach award goes to Jill Ellis. The Best Men’s player of the year goes to Lionel Messi. The United States icon Megan Rapinoe wins The Best Women’s Player award
The 2019 edition of the Best FIFA Football Awards is going to be held at La Scala, Milan, Italy.
The Merseyside boys are all suited up. #LFC #YNWA
Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan shone together at the Women’s World Cup in France earlier this year and with both of them nominated for The Best Women’s Player award, they are at the awards together as well.
Juergen Klopp wins the Best FIFA Men’s Coach award. Klopp thanks his family first. He remembers the Champions League final and said it was close and Liverpool won it, which is why Pochettino was not standing with the award. He went on to congratulate Pochettino for a great season. He had only words of praise for his team Liverpool.
The FIFA Puskas award, which is won by the best goal of the year, goes to Daniel Zsori. He scored the scintillating bicycle kick on his Hungarian league debut, just minutes after coming on as substitute
Congratulations, Daniel Zsori
Winner of the FIFA #Puskas Award 2019
Sari van Veenandaal wins The Best Women’s Goalkeeper award. She was one of the integral parts of Netherlands’ Women’s World Cup campaign, where they reached the final.
Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United squad wins the FIFA Fair Play award. During their Championship match against Aston Villa, they needed a win to qualify for the Premier League. With an Aston Villa player down, Leeds had scored a goal but understanding the situation, they let Aston Villa score back and the match ended 1-1.
In her acceptance speech for The Best Women’s Goalkeeper award, Sari van Veenendaal said that from a young age she wanted to be one of the world’s best footballers. Now she has the hardware to prove it.
Here is the first-ever FIFA FIFPro World XI: Sari van Veenendaal, Lucy Bronze, Wendie Renard, Nilla Fischer, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz, Amandine Henry, Rose Lavelle, Marta, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.
The World Cup winner Jill Ellis wins The Best Women’s Coach award. She guided the United States to back-to-back victories in the World Cup and is the first coach ever to win two Women’s World Cup.
She thanked her parents and credited them for entering this field. She called winning the award after two back-to-back World Cups a “crazy ride”.
Liverpool and Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker has won The Best Men’s Goalkeeper award. Along with his laurels with Liverpool, he also won the Copa America with Brazil.
#TheBest FIFA Men’s Player is Lionel Messi!
Lionel Messi wins the Best Men’s Player award. He has defeated Liverpool and Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk and fierce rival Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award. Messi won the La Liga with Barcelona in the last season.
The United States icon Megan Rapinoe wins The Best Women’s Player award. Rapinoe, who won the World Cup with US, also bagged the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe at the mega event in France.
Can’t tell how good this feels. Messi can give me a heads up, had it so many times. I am at loss of words, that rarely happens.”
She thanks her parents, her twin sister, her girlfriend. She dedicates the award to Jill Ellis and her US team. “Thank you for putting up with my s*it.”
“The crowd we had (at the World Cup) was amazing. Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly, amazing performances on the field, but the way they have taken on the disgusting racism they have had to deal with. The Iranian woman who eventually set herself on fire. The LGBQT players. These are the stories that inspire me but also make me sad. If we want change, people other than Sterling and Koulibaly, would be as outraged about racism. People other than LGBQT outraged about homophobia. To all people here, use this beautiful game to actually change the world for better. We have incredible power in this room.”