Barcelona and Argentina talisman Lionel Messi won the FIFA Men’s player of the year award edging past Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday. The star-studded event took place in the La Scala Opera House in Milan, Italy.
Messi(32) had an outstanding season with Barcelona, winning the La Liga and was top scorer in the Champions League last season with 12 goals. Messi also won the Pichichi Award scoring 36 goals and often was the deciding factor in many of Barcelona’s crucial encounters. He had earlier lost the UEFA player of the year award to Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk(28).
Both Messi and Van dijk will now compete for the prestigious Ballon d’or award scheduled for December.
“I want to thank those who decided to give me this recognition. The most important thing for me is the collective awards, but today is also a very special night for me.” Messi said.
Megan Rapione on the other hand defeated compatriot Alex Morgan to lift the Women’s title.
The 34 year old was in scintillating form bagging both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball award in the FIFA World Cup.
Rapinoe’s award-winning speech was also quite inspiring as she spoke on issues of Racism and Gender inequality.
“Some of the stories that have inspired me this year. Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly – their amazing performances on the field, but the way they have taken on the disgusting racism that they have to face. The Iranian woman who eventually set herself on fire. The LGBQT players who fight homophobia. These are the stories that inspire me but also make me sad.” Rapinoe said.
List of all the winners at FIFA’s The Best Awards ceremony:
Best men’s player: Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona)
Best women’s player: Megan Rapinoe (USA/Reign FC)
Best men’s goalkeeper: Alisson Becker (BRA/Liverpool)
Best women’s goalkeeper: Sari van Veenendaal (NED/Atletico Madrid)
Men’s World 11 team of year: Alisson Becker (BRA/Liverpool); Sergio Ramos (ESP/Real Madrid), Virgil Van Dijk (NED/Liverpool), Matthijs De Ligt (NED/Juventus), Marcelo (BRA/Real Madrid); Luka Modric (CRO/Real Madrid), Frenkie De Jong (NED/Barcelona), Eden Hazard (BEL/Real Madrid); Lionel Messi (ARG/FC Barcelona), Kylian Mbappe (FRA/PSG), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus)
Women’s World 11 team of year: Sari Van Veenendaal (NED/Atletico Madrid); Lucy Bronze (ENG/Lyon), Wendie Renard (FRA/Lyon), Nilla Fischer (SWE/Linkopings), Kelly O’Hara (USA/Utah Royals); Amandine Henry (FRA/Lyon), Julie Ertz (USA/Chicago), Rose Lavelle (USA/Washington); Marta (BRA/Orlando), Alex Morgan (USA/Orlando), Megan Rapinoe (USA/Reign FC)
Men’s coach: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
Women’s coach: Jill Ellis (USA)
Puskas Award best goal: Daniel Zsori (HUN/Debrecen)
Fair-play award: Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United