The Argentinian football superstar, Lionel Messi won his first FIFA Player of the year award on Monday, September 23 at the La Scala Opera House in Milan, where The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 ceremony was held.
The Best men’s player award at the Best FIFA Football awards in Milan was contested between Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who got voted by football coaches and journalists as three of the most worthy of receiving this prestigious award. The criteria used to vote the winner of the men’s player of the year award was respective achievements during the period from 16 July 2018 to 19 July 2019, and it was Lionel Messi, who emerged victorious in that aspect over both Ronaldo and van Dijk.
While one of the best football players that ever lived, seeing Messi claim the award was a surprise, seeing how he edged out the impressive Virgil van Dijk, who won UEFA player’s award last month, due to his contribution to Liverpool’s title-winning UCL run last season. Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who got shortlisted as one of the best players alongside van Dijk and Messi, decided to not attend FIFA’s gala event in Milan for the second year in a row. The Portuguese star and Messi both missed last year’s ceremony as well, which resulted in both players being heavily criticised for their absence. While Messi decided to attend the award gala event in Milan this year, Ronaldo decided to spurn his invitation once more, due to supposed muscle fatigue, he suffered by playing three matches in the last eight days.
Ronaldo won his last Best FIFA Men’s Player award in 2017, finished second behind his former teammate Luka Modric in 2018 and finished third behind both van Dijk and Messi this year, meaning he missed out on winning the prestigious award for the third time in last four years. That being said, he is still the most decorated player with two awards to his name so far (2016,2017).
After the announcement, Messi went on the stage to thank everyone who helped him earn the award, “I want to thank those who decided to give me this recognition,” said Messi
“The most important thing for me is the collective awards, but today is also a very special night for me.”
This Monday marked the first time Messi won the FIFA Best Award, which was created in 2016, for the purpose to revive the FIFA World Player of the Year, which merged with France Football’s Ballon d’Or award in 2010 to become FIFA Ballon d’Or. The Argentinian football superstar earned the award due to his incredible displays in the Champions League last season, where he was the top scorer with 12 goals, despite exiting the tournament in the semi-finals after a painful defeat to van Dijk and Liverpool. In addition to that, Messi also won his sixth European Golden Shoe award for the third time in a row by scoring 36 goals in LaLiga in 2018/19 season.
While both impressive last season, neither van Dijk nor Ronaldo managed to measure up to Messi and his achievements and contributions to his team and nation.
Van Dijk helped Liverpool reach the top of European football by playing a key role in their sixth Champions League title, yet, failed to help the Reds finish above Manchester City in the tightly contested race for the EPL title. That being said, he is widely considered as one of the best, if not the best defender in the world, and there is no way of arguing with that. Ronaldo on the other side added another successful season to his already impressive resume when he won Serie A with Juventus, scoring 21 goals in the process of Juventus’ eighth consecutive Serie A title. However, even that was not enough for Ronaldo to claim his FIFA player of the year award.
Seeing how van Dijk failed to win the award, he missed out on completing the treble with Jurgen Klopp and Alisson Becker, who won the men’s coach of the year and goalkeeper of the year awards respectively. Alisson found himself shortlisted with Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona) and Ederson (Man City) and came out on top, becoming the first Brazilian goalkeeper to claim the prestigious award, and the second Premier goalkeeper to do so, following Courtois, who won the award last year. Jurgen Klopp on the other side edged out Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino to become first German coach to claim the award for the best FIFA men’s coach.
Other FIFA Awards
Other awards that were given out at the La Scala Opera House in Milan also include:
Best women’s player:
Megan Rapinoe; Reign FC (USA)
Best women’s goalkeeper:
Sari van Veenendaal; Atletico Madrid (NED)
Jill Ellis (USA)
Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United
Puskas Award best goal:
Daniel Zsori; Debrecen (HUN)
World 11 Team of the Year
The men’s and women’s World 11 team of the year were also revealed and look as follows:
Men’s World 11 team of the year included players from; Liverpool (two), Real Madrid (four), Juventus (two), Barcelona (two) and PSG (one).
Men’s World 11 team of year
Alisson Becker (Liverpool); Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool), Matthijs De Ligt (Juventus), Marcelo (Real Madrid); Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Frenkie De Jong (Barcelona), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid); Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus).
Women’s World 11 team of the year
Women’s World 11 team of the year on the other side included players from: Atletico Madrid (one), Lyon (three), Linkopings (one), Utah Royals (one), Chicago Red Stars (one), Washington Spirit (one), Orlando Pride (two) and Reign FC (one).
Women’s World 11 team of year: Sari Van Veenendaal (Atletico Madrid); Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Wendie Renard (Lyon), Nilla Fischer (Linkopings), Kelly O’Hara (Utah Royals); Amandine Henry (Lyon), Julie Ertz (Chicago), Rose Lavelle (Washington); Marta (Orlando), Alex Morgan (Orlando), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC).