The third edition of The Best FIFA Football Awards since the world football governing body ended its 6-year partnership with France Football’s Ballon d’Or in 2015 was held at the Royal Festival Hall, London, England on Monday 24th September, 2018.
The event which started with a green carpet was hosted by Idris Elba and was graced with the presence of past and present legends of the game such as Kano Nwankwo, Brazil’s Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Didier Drogba, to a mention few alongside other dignitaries, including Nigeria’s billionaire business moguls, Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola and Cecil Hammond, the CEO of Flytime Group
The highlight of the event was unarguably Modric putting an end to the decade long monotonous run between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi who both have 5 best player of the year awards to their names. The night saw Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder, Luka Modric take home the prestigious Best FIFA Men’s player of the year Award, ahead of former Real Madrid teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah. This award is coming just months after he clinched the UEFA Men’s player of the year award ahead of Ronaldo and Salah too. These awards come as rewards for Modric’s consistent excellence in the past season, playing a role in Real Madrid’s success of winning a third consecutive Champions League trophy last season and most importantly for putting up a very admirable performance at the 2018 world cup in Russia and guiding the Croatian National team to the world cup finals for the first time which they lost to France in July. The defeat didn’t stop him from being given the golden ball at the end of the tournament.
As usual, the award provided lovers of the beautiful lots of taking points. Lets take a quick look at some.
Ronaldo and Messi Snub
Argentine and Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi who failed to make it the top 3 finalists for the first time since 2008, a decision which caused a serious stir in the world of football, was a no show at the award and so was his perceived arch rival Portugal and Juventus star, Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s absence didn’t exactly come as a shock seeing that he had already boycotted UEFA awards earlier. Though, they both gave reasons for missing it, Ronaldo’s reason being that his team has a mid week fixture to prepare for, in his defense, no Juventus player was at the award. While, Messi missed based on personal reasons. They’ve come under heat as their move has been heavy criticized with a FIFA representative saying “They discredit football and they do not even recognize”. Fabio Capello also gave his thought on their absence while speaking to Mundo Deportivo saying, “It’s a lack of respect that they didn’t come.” He further said, “When the Oscars happen, they(the nominees) are all there. It’s possible they have won too often and they don’t like to lose. But you have to be gracious when you lose, just like when you win”.
While, the absence of the both players may not go down well with most persons, but it doesn’t change the fact that they have and are still keeping us very entertained with their exciting rivalry in the last 10 years and are both phenomenal players and the two greatest footballers of recent times.
Who Voted Who?
The award was decided by national team coaches and captains, select members of the media and online voting. The mode of voting is certainly one to cause a divide between coaches and their captains as that was clearly the case of the Captain of Nigeria’s Super Eagles, John Mikel Obi and Coach Gernot Rohr as they disagreed on whether Croatian Luka Modric should be crowned as Best FIFA Player of the year
According to details of the voting done by national captains, coaches and media men, Modric was Rohr’s first choice, but Mikel Obi chose Lionel Messi as first choice, and French player Kylian Mbappe as the second. Modric was Obi’s third’s choice. Rohr also picked Mbappe as second choice and Belgium and Chelsea player Eden Hazard as his third choice.
The Nigeria media man, Christian Okpara who voted, picked Ronaldo, Eden and Modric as first, second and third choices.
The detail of Lionel Messi’s vote is actually the most interesting as it indicates that he voted Cristiano Ronaldo for the time since 2011 when he was named the captain of the Argentine national team . He however, placed him in third place behind Luka Modric and French youngster Kylian Mbappe. Ronaldo on the other hand, opted for former Real Madrid team mates, Rapheal Varane and Luka Modric alongside Atletico forward, Antoine Griezmann. Modric the evntual winner and Croatia’s captain voted Madrid team mate, Rapheal Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann.
FIFA FifPRO World XI
The list for the FIFA best 11 also drew some attention as neither Thibaut Courtois(Belguim/Real Madrid) who won the award for best goal keeper or the other two finalist, Hugo Lloris(France/Tottenham) and Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark/Leicester City) was picked as the first choice keeper. The position was rather given to Manchester United’s keeper, David De Gea who aside a poor world cup outing for Spain had a great season at united, leaving people wondering, who is actually the best goalie, De Gea or Courtois? Mohammed Salah also didn’t make the list and nobody seems to understand how Dani Alves got on the list.
With Ronaldo and Messi making the list, it means they did get awards after all.
The Dream Team
David De Gea
Fifa Puskás Award
Named in honor of Ferenc Puskas, it is awarded to the player judged to have scored the most aesthetically significant, or “most beautiful”, goal of the year.
Ten goals, there will be just one winner.
- Gareth Bale (Real Madrid vs Liverpool)
- Denis Cheryshev (Russia vs Croatia)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid vs Juventus)
- Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (AEK vs Olympiakos)
- Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Cruzeiro vs America MG)
- Riley McGree (Newcastle Jets vs Melbourne City)
- Lionel Messi (Argentina vs Nigeria, World Cup)
- Benjamin Pavard (France vs Argentina, World Cup)
- Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal vs Iran, World Cup)
- Mohamed Salah (Liverpool vs Everton)
Mohammed Salah won this award and everyone is trying to understand how his goal for Liverpool against Everton made it pass the superb overhead kicks Ronaldo and Bale scored during the champions league and even Pavard’s equally fantastic goal during the world cup. We’d never know how it all happened, but this mean Salah didn’t go home empty handed after all, after missing out on the best player award and not making it to the best 11.
Other Awards and Winners
The Best Fifa Men’s Coach – Didier Deschamps
- Zlatko Dalic (Croatia)
- Didier Deschamps (France)
- Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)
Arsene Wenger announced Didier Deschamps as the winner of the Best Fifa Men’s Coach.
He of course led France to World Cup glory this summer and became only the third man to do so as a player and coach. After winning the world cup in 1998 with France as the captain.
Best Fifa Women’s Coach – Reynald Pedros
- Reynald Pedros (Lyon)
- Asako Takakura (Japan)
- Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands)
It’s double French coaching success! Lyon’s Reynald Pedros wins the Best Fifa Women’s Coach award. He guided his side to the league and UEFA Women’s Champions League double and also the Coupe de France Feminine final. Lyon were also unbeaten in the league. A worthy winner.
The Best Fifa Women’s Player – Marta
- Ada Hegerberg (Lyon & Norway)
- Dzsenifer Marozsan (Lyon & Germany)
- Marta (Orlando Pride & Brazil)
Last year it was Barcelona’s Dutch midfielder who took home the award. In 2018, it is Marta who is crowned the best Fifa Women’s Player.
Her cause was helped by 13 goals and six assists in helping Orlando Pride to NWSL play-offs. She also captained Brazil to Copa America Femenina title, winning all seven games at the finals.
The Fifa Fan Award – Peru supporters – World Cup
It’s the Peru fans who get the nod for this one, in an award voted for by the fans.
The Fifa Fair Play Award – Lennart Thy
German striker Lennart Thy missed a game for VVV-Venlo against PSV Eindhoven to donate stem cells to try and help a Leukaemia patient.
Thy, who was on loan at the top-flight Dutch club from Werder Bremen, was a DNA match.
Speaking after receiving the award, he said:
“It’s a big honour for me to be here tonight and receive this award. It was a matter of course when I got asked to help someone with blood cancer.
The best thing about the story is that there are many new people who got registered in the Netherlands which makes me very proud”.