August 2 – FIFA has unveiled the shortlisted candidates shortlisted for its Best men’s and women’s players of the year and coaches of the year.
The men’s awards are again European dominated with no players who play their club football outside the continent selected and Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Sadio Mane (Senegal) the only non-Europeans in the list.
In what is becoming a perennial repeat there are no AFC players in the list despite the confederation’s breakthrough Asian Cup tournament in January that threw up a number of exciting new talents from within the region – not least that record breaking young Qatari striker (what’s his name?).
The good news is that Ronaldo is once again nominated alongside his old award-contesting buddy Messi – it could hardly be considered a credible football Awards Night without them. There is a good chance Ronaldo will turn up as well as the awards this year will be held in Milan on September 23, not far from his Turin home with Juventus. That is of course assuming he isn’t laid low with the muscle fatigue that prevented him playing this week in South Korea – but really, why bother, as the FIFA nominations once again show that football (you know, proper football) probably isn’t played that far away from Europe, is it? Surely these are just territories that have value for their political vote and any sponsor they can bring to party.
The women’s player list is slightly less one-eyed with Australia’s Sam Kerr nominated alongside four US national team players and seven Europeans. Interestingly last year’s third placed women’s player of the year, Ada Hegerberg, who refused to play for Norway at the France 2019 World Cup over equality of pay issues, is nominated. There are no nominations from Africa or South America though we are reliably informed that football is played on both continents, which by the look of the lists might come as a confusing surprise to the FIFA mandarins.
Public voting for the award categories is now open with voters having to pick their top three in each category. The public vote makes up 25% of the overall vote with national team captains, national team members, and selected members of the media making up the other 25%.
The three finalists for each of the four categories will be announced in early September, alongside the nominations for the FIFA Puskás Award, the FIFA Fan Award and The Best FIFA Goalkeeper awards for both men and women.
FIFA Best Nominations:
The Best FIFA Men’s Player:
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Juventus)
- Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands/Ajax/Barcelona)
- Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands/Ajax/Juventus)
- Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea/Real Madrid)
- Harry Kane (England/Tottenham Hotspur)
- Sadio Mané (Senegal/Liverpool)
- Kylian Mbappé (France/Paris Saint-Germain)
- Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona)
- Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool)
- Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands/Liverpool)
The Best FIFA Women’s Player:*
- Lucy Bronze (England/Olympique Lyonnais)
- Julie Ertz (USA/Chicago Red Stars)
- Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway/Wolfsburg/Barcelona)
- Ada Hegerberg (Norway/Olympique Lyonnais)
- Amandine Henry (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
- Sam Kerr (Australia/Chicago Red Stars/Perth Glory)
- Rose Lavelle (USA/Washington Spirit)
- Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands/Arsenal)
- Alex Morgan (USA/Orlando Pride)
- Megan Rapinoe (USA/Reign FC)
- Wendie Renard (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
- Ellen White (England/Birmingham City/Manchester City)
The Best FIFA Men’s Coach:
- Djamel Belmadi (Algeria/Algerian national team)
- Didier Deschamps (France/French national team)
- Marcelo Gallardo (Argentina/River Plate)
- Ricardo Gareca (Argentina/Peruvian national team)
- Pep Guardiola (Spain/Manchester City)
- Jürgen Klopp (Germany/Liverpool)
- Mauricio Pochettino (Argentina/Tottenham Hotspur)
- Fernando Santos (Portugal/Portuguese national team)
- Erik ten Hag (Netherlands/Ajax)
- Tite (Brazil/Brazilian national team)
The Best FIFA Women’s Coach:
- Milena Bertolini (Italy/Italian national team)
- Jill Ellis (USA/USA national team)
- Peter Gerhardsson (Sweden/Swedish national team)
- Futoshi Ikeda (Japan/Japanese U-20 national team)
- Antonia “Toña” Is (Spain/Spanish U-17 national team)
- Joe Montemurro (Australia/Arsenal)
- Phil Neville (England/English national team)
- Reynald Pedros (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
- Paul Riley (England/North Carolina Courage)
- Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands/Dutch national team)
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