The Best – Winners

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar September 25, 2019 16:25

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The Best – Winners

By Satish Sekar in Milano © Satish Sekar (September 23rd 2019)

Individual Awards

Barçelona and Argentina’ Lionel Messi won his 6th Best Men’s Player Award, one more than his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who snubbed the event.

Liverpool and Netherlands, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, Virgil van Dijk, was beaten by Messi, but attended. Despite Messi’s numbers, some cannot understand how van Dijk did not win.

The Best FIFA Women’s Player’s Award was won by Megan Rapinoe, who beat her compatriot Alex Morgan and UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, England’s Lucy Bronze.

Rapinoe highlighted the need to combat homophobia and racism in her acceptance speech.
The first award was for the best goal – even this was made controversial (see The Best – Controversies).

Named after the magnificent Galloping Major, the Ferenc Puskás Award was won by a Hungarian Daniel Zsora, beating Lionel Messi and Juan Fernando Quintero. It’s fitting that the award named after one of the Mightiest Magyars was won by a compatriot that Puskás himself would have been proud to have scored.

After so many near misses, Liverpool’s coach Jürgen Klopp broke his major trophy drought last summer. Tonight, he scooped the FIFA Best Men’s Coach Award.

The USA’s Jill Ellis became the first coach to win the Women’s World Cup twice. Tonight, she was recognised as the FIFA Best Women’s Coach.

Goalkeepers were the only position players honoured tonight. Liverpool and Brasil’s Alisson Becker beat compatriot Ederson, who kept 20 clean sheets for Manchester City – one less than Alisson – last season in the EPL, and Barçelona’s La Liga winning Marc-André Ter Stegen.

The Netherlands’ Sari van Veenendaal, who plies her trade for Atlético de Madrid, after leaving Arsenal, won the FIFA Best Women’s goalkeeper Award. She beat Paris Saint-Germain’s Chilean international, Christiane Endler, and Sweden’s Hedwig Lindahl, who left Chelsea for Wolfsburg this year.

Special

Marcelo Bielsa and the Leeds United squad won the FIFA Fair Play award. With an Aston Villa player injured, Leeds played on and scored. It incensed Aston Villa and Bielsa. Despite needing a victory, Bielsa ordered his team to allow Villa to score without challenging them. The match ended 1-1 and Leeds missed out on promotion. Nevertheless, the award did not impress Derby County.

There was no controversy – just admiration and appreciation – for the winner of the FIFA Best Fan Award. Palmeiras supporter, Sylvia Grecco, takes her blind son Nickolass, to matches and tells him what is happening. She was honoured at the Gala tonight, receiving the award from Italian great Andrea Pirlo.

Teams

This year’s awards ceremony celebrated advances made in the Women’s game, after the most successful Women’s World Cup ever. Naturally, the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World 11 was dominated by the World Cup-winning USA.

The team is as follows.

Goalkeeper: Sari van Veenendaal (Arsenal/Atlético de Madrid)

Defence: Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyonnais), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnais), Nilla Fischer (VfL Wolfsburg/Linköpings), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals),

Midfield: Amandine Henry (Olympique Lyonnais), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars),

Attack: Marta (Orlando Pride), Rose Lavellle (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC),

Forward: Alex Morgan (San Dimas)

There were controversial omissions from this team too, although the responses tended to be limited to the men’s team, which was:

Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

Defence: Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax/Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Marcelo (Real Madrid),

Midfield: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Frenkie de Jong (Ajax/Barçelona), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Real Madrid)

Attack: Kylian Mbappe (Paris Sain-Germain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Lionel Messi (Barçelona).

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar September 25, 2019 16:25