Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
This Monday, February 27, will go down in history as the day Lionel Messi won his second The Best Award, the only award in which he was surpassed by Cristiano Ronaldo. In a ceremony held in Paris, France, the Argentine beat Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé as the best player of the year in the period from August 8, 2021 to December 18, 2022.
The FIFA president was in charge of receiving Messi on stage and presenting him with The Best Award. The Argentine spoke a few words to a loud ovation and thanked his teammates, the fans and his family.
“It is a pleasure to be here again and to be among the three nominees. It is an honor to be the winner. I want to thank my colleagues. This year was crazy for me, I was able to achieve a dream after fighting so hard. In the end it arrived and it is the most beautiful thing that has happened to me in my career,” he said.
The best FIFA player in 2022 was the Spanish Alexia Putellas and she became the first to win this award twice in a row. The forward of FC Barcelona prevailed over the English Beath Mead and the North American Alex Morgan. It is possible that the Catalan did not participate in the Eurocup due to a knee injury.
The gala began with a video in which the figure of the Brazilian legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as ‘Pelé’, who died at the end of December 2022, was honored. Gianni Infantino and Ronaldo Nazário presented an honorary The Best Award to ‘O Rei’ for his legacy and the distinction was received by Márcia Aoki, last wife of the five-time world champion with Brazil.
The first official award of the night was in the category of best goalkeeper and it was awarded to the Women’s Eurocup champion Mary Earps (Manchester United). The award was presented by the legend Didier Drogba. Earps edged past Chelsea’s Ann-Katrin Berger of Germany and Olympique Lyon’s Christiane Endler of Chile.
In the category of Best Goalkeeper there were no surprises and the controversial Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martínez surpassed the Moroccan Bono and the Belgian from Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois. After receiving the statuette from the Brazilian legend Julio César, the Argentine gave an emotional message in which he thanked his family.
The Puskas award for the best goal went to Marcin Oleksy with his Chilean goal in soccer for amputees. The Pole surpassed goals from figures like Dimitri Payet, Kylian Mbappé, Richarlison or Mario Balotelli.
The best coach of 2022 was Sarina Wiegman, from England. She prevailed over Sonia Bompastor (Lyon) and Pia Sundhage (Brazil).
In the men’s category, Argentina once again controlled the scene and a young Lionel Scaloni prevailed against the experienced Carlo Ancelotti of Real Madrid and Spanish Pep Guardiola as the best coach of 2022.
The world champion with the Albiceleste in Qatar 2022 received the distinction from the renowned Italian DT Fabio Capello. In his speech, he was visibly moved and thanked the players, the coaching staff and the president of the Argentine Federation.
FIFA wanted to honor Luka Lochoshvili with The Best Award for fair play after saving the life of a teammate during a match. “I am happy for the award, but more for saving a life. It is more important than football, ”he said on a video call.
In the hands of Andrés Cantor and Adriana Lima, the Best Fan award in 2022 went to Argentina thanks to ‘Tulo Bombo’, who gave a funny speech.
FIFA 11 FIFPRO is in charge of recognizing the 11 best players gathered in an alignment. The winners were: Christiane Endler (Chile); Lucy Bronze (England); Mapi Leon (Spain); Wendie Renard (France); Leah Williamson (England); Lena Oberdorf (Germany); Alexia Putellas (Spain); St. Kerr (Australia); Beath Mead (England) and Alex Morgan (United States).
For its part, the FIFPRO 11 World Men chosen was the following: Thibaut Courtois (Belgium); Achraf Hakimi (Morocco); Virgil Van Dijk (Netherlands); Joao Cancelo (Portugal); Carlos Casemiro (Brazil); Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium); Luka Modric (Croatia); Karim Benzema (France); Kylian Mbappé (France); Erling Haaland (Norway) and Lionel Messi (Argentina).
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