What is it?
The FIFA football awards were originally introduced in 1991 to go along side the French publication, French Football’s Ballon D’Or prize.
The difference between the two is the organisations in charge; The Ballon D’Or was set up in 1956.
However, both awards were combined in 2010 to create the FIFA Ballon D’Or for six years before FIFA President, Gianni Infantino reverted it back to the original separate award system in 2018.
Lionel Messi wins best player for a sixth time
Lionel Messi was voted the best men’s player at the awards in Milan. The Barcelona man was voted ahead of fellow finalists, Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk as well as Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 32-year-old Argentine helped Barcelona win La Liga and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, scoring 54 goals in 58 games for club and country, and provide 20 assists in the 2018/19 campaign.
I think that Van Dijk should have got the award because of the impact he has made to Liverpool’s defence, particularly last season, while Messi had an impressive season; Van Dijk ultimately played a critical part in Liverpool winning their sixth Champions League trophy as well as the dramatic improvement that he has made to the reds’ defence in the league. His former manager at Celtic, Neil Lennon, also shares this viewpoint.
FIFA however have not crowned a defender as it’s player of the year since Fabio Cannavaro won it in 2006 after the Italian led Italy to World Cup glory.
Megan Rapinoe awarded the women’s player prize
American superstar Megan Rapinoe led her country to a second consecutive World Cup win scoring crucial goals against Spain in the last 16, France in the Quarter-finals and the World Cup final itself during their victory over the Netherlands.
Rapinoe won the award with 46 per cent of the vote, just ahead of World Cup 2019 Silver Boot winner Alex Morgan, 42 per cent and Lyon treble winner and England international Lucy Bronze, 29 per cent.
Jurgen Klopp named coach of the year ahead of Pep Guardiola
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp was announced as coach of the year after guiding his team to a Champions League win in Madrid against Tottenham Hotspur. Other notable highlights included the comeback in the Champions League Semi-finals against Barcelona, 4-3 on aggregate.
The German coach also lost only once in the Premier League during the 2018/19 season and achieved a 97 point tally, falling just one point short of eventual winners Manchester City.
The other finalists included domestic treble winner (Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup), Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.
Tottenham Hotspur coach, Maurico Pochettino was also nominated having led the London side to their first ever Champions League Final.
I think you can make a strong argument for both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola when it comes to winning coach of the year.
Pep Guardiola for me should have got it ahead of Klopp on this occasion, purely for leading his team to the first ever domestic treble, or perhaps they could have even been joint winners?
World Cup winning coach Jill Ellis named best women’s coach
Probably the least surprising award winner, Jill Ellis helped America win another World Cup in France this year. This was following on from her 2015 success in Canada.
In the seven tournament matches her side scored 26 goals, including a record 13-0 win over Thailand and conceded just three times.
Ellis finishes her reign as American coach next month and currently is the only coach to lift the Women’s World Cup twice.
The other finalists were England coach Phil Neville, who helped the Three Lions to a fourth place finish at the World Cup as well as a first ever SheBelievesCup win back in March 2019.
Sarina Wiegman, the Dutch coach, was also nominated having got her country to their first ever World Cup Final.
Alisson Becker and Sari Van Veenendaal named the best male and female goalkeeper
Brazilian and Liverpool Goalkeeper, Alisson Becker was announced as the best goalkeeper and this was certainly justified after keeping a record high 21 clean sheets in the league. Alisson was also able to help his club side to Champions League glory, keeping five clean sheets including four in the knockout stages.
The runners-up were Manchester City’s Ederson, who kept 20 clean sheets during the last campaign and Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
Sari Van Veenendaal, the Dutch number one keeper, meanwhile was awarded the women’s goalkeeper award. Van Veenendaal helped her team to their first ever World Cup final, keeping three clean sheets in the process. She was also part of the Arsenal side who won the Women Super League title.
Sweden’s Hedvig Lindahl, who played an integral part in her side finishing third at the World Cup, was the runner-up.
Eighteen-year-old Daniel Zsori wins the Puskas award for best goal
Daniel Zsori was awarded the best goal prize by scoring a stunning bicycle kick in stoppage time in what proved to be the winner for his club side Debrecen against rivals Ferencvaros in February 2019.
Incredibly Zsori was making his first senior appearance for the club.
Silvia Grecco chosen as FIFA fan winner
Silvia Grecco was given this award because she was seen with her son, 11-year-old Nickollas, who is blind and mildly autistic, describing and commentating on a Palmeiras football game for him against rivals Corinthians.
The footage of this went viral all over Brazil and the mother later explained that she had been doing this for a few years. Grecco won the award with roughly 58 per cent of the vote.
Fifa Fifpro Men’s Team of the Year
Goalkeeper – Alisson (Liverpool/Brazil)
Defenders – Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax and Juventus/Netherlands), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/Netherlands), Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil).
Midfielders – Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia), Frenkie de Jong (Ajax and Barcelona/Netherlands), Eden Hazard (Chelsea and Real Madrid/Belgium)
Forwards – Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain/France), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Portugal), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)
Fifa Fifpro Women’s Team of the Year
Goalkeeper – Sari van Veenendaal (Arsenal/Netherlands)
Defenders – Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyonnais/England), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnais/France), Nilla Fischer (Linkopings FC/Sweden), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC/USA)
Midfielders – Amandine Henry (Olympique Lyonnais/France), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars/USA), Marta (Orlando Pride/Brazil), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit/USA),
Forwards – Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC/USA) and Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/USA)
Were some of these inclusions justified?
Certainly there were a few surprising inclusions such as Real Madrid player’s Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and even Luka Modric.
Sergio Ramos in particular as he admitted after the first leg of the last 16 ties against Ajax that he picked up a deliberate yellow card to rule himself out of the return leg, that Real Madrid ultimately lost.
Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe was impressive in Ligue 1 and domestic competitions in France but he did not make much of an impression on the Champions League stage last season.
I would have chosen Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte who played a crucial role in their treble winning campaign ahead of Sergio Ramos. Laporte helped his side keep 23 clean sheets out of 48 games.
Liverpool’s Andy Robertson at left back instead of Marcelo, again due to his influential displays in their Champions League and Premier League campaigns. Last season Robertson was responsible for 13 assists from his position at left back.
Christian Eriksen also I think gets in ahead of Luka Modric as he played an important role in Tottenham Hotspur getting to their first ever final. Eriksen was responsible for eight goals and 12 assists from 35 appearances during the London clubs previous campaign.
Finally I would bring in Mohamed Salah instead of Kylian Mbappe, purely because of the importance of the goals that he scored and the impact that he made in crucial moments of the campaign contributing 22 goals and 11 assists in all competitions.
Both Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane were unlucky to just miss out as well having both had superb seasons with their respective clubs. Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son and Ajax’s Dustin Tadic were also outstanding.
Do any 24/7 readers have views on the award winners and who would you choose in your team of 2018/19?