Lionel Messi has marked his resurgence to the top of football’s individual honours by beating French duo Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe to lift the men’s best player in the world award.
Messi – previously the winner of seven Ballon d’Or’s – claimed his second The Best title and first since 2019 after being commended for his stunning exploits with Argentina.
The 35-year-old was sensational as he masterminded Argentina to the World Cup crown, scoring seven goals and becoming the first player to score in every game at the competition.
An emotional Messi admitted that the personal accolade completed what had been a ‘tremendous’ year of success for him and his club and country colleagues.
While holding his award, Messi stated: ‘Wow, it’s amazing. It’s been a tremendous year and it’s an honour for me to be here tonight and win this award.
Lionel Messi (left) won FIFA’s BEST men’s player in the world award on Monday evening
An emotional Messi topped off last year’s World Cup win with Argentina with another personal title
Messi (lifting trophy) was recognised for his monstrous efforts that saw Argentina lift the 2022 World Cup
Mbappe (left) was pipped to the personal accolade by Messi while fellow nominee Karim Benzema (right) didn’t even turn up to the awards ceremony
‘Without my team-mates I wouldn’t be here. I achieved the dream I had been hoping for for so long. Very few people can achieve that and I have been lucky to do so.’
Meanwhile, Messi’s national team-mate and Aston Villa shot-stopper Emiliano Martinez claimed FIFA’s ‘The Best’ goalkeeper prize to be crowned the world’s best.
His extraordinary efforts at the World Cup saw him pull Argentina through penalty shootouts against Holland in their quarter-final clash before getting the better of France’s penalty-takers in the final.
Martinez beat Morocco’s Yassine Bounou and Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois to the award, and thanked the efforts of his parents in helping him make it to the top.
A grinning Messi watched on like an adorning parent as Martinez took to the stage to pick up his personal piece of silverware that follows on from winning the Golden Glove award at the World Cup.
‘They always ask me who my idols are or who I watched when I was a kid…Watching my mom clean buildings 8 o for 9 hours and watching my dad work. They are my idols,’ said Martinez.
The women’s awards were capitalised by Alexia Putellas recognition as the world’s best female player as the Spaniard claimed a second consecutive title at the event.
Putellas has starred with Barcelona and Spain, scored 34 goals in all competitions at club level last season prior to being recognised by voters around the world at the global awards ceremony.
There was another national hero involved in the women’s goalkeeping awards that saw England’s Mary Earps clinch the title for his stunning exploits with the Lionesses and Manchester United.
Aston Villa and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was recognised as the best goalkeeper in the world
Spain and Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas clinched a second consecutive female award
Argentina World Cup winning coach Lionel Scaloni (pictured) beat Man City boss Pep Guardiola to the managerial award
Earps was influential in the nation’s run to winning last year’s European championships and told those in attendance at the FIFA ceremony in Paris that her success shows others the way forward.
‘I just want to say thank you so much to my loved ones who have picked me up off the kitchen floor to be here today, not specifically tonight but a few years ago,’ said Earps.
‘For anyone who has been in a dark place, just know there is light at the end of the tunnel, so keep going. You can achieve anything that you set your mind to.
Earps’ national team coach Sarina Wiegman followed with further success as she beat Lyon boss Sonia Bompastor and Brazilian coach Pia Sundhage to be named ‘The Best’ Women’s Coach’.
Argentina’s trio of titles was topped off by Lionel Scaloni being recognised as ‘The Best’ men’s coach as the World Cup winning manager topped the polls ahead of Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Real Madrid’s Champions League winning coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Scaloni was the unfavourable choice to take over as Argentina head coach before the Qatar competition given his lack of experience in working with superstars but saw his efforts reward the nation with their first World Cup since 1986.
The FIFA Puskas award for the ‘most beautiful’ goal of the past year produced a heart-warming moment as amputee Marcin Oleksy took home the trophy after his brilliant strike.
Casemiro was Manchester United’s sole player included in the FIFPRO Men’s XI
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk (left) was involved in FIFA’s team of the year alongside Messi (middle) and Kylian Mbappe (right)
Oleksy usurped eleven other contenders including former West Ham forward Dimitri Payet as his acrobatic effort on crutches for Polish side earned him a famous Puskas title.
The Premier League was well-represented at the awards ceremony as five English top-flight stars were also included in the FIFPRO men’s world XI.
Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne, Joao Cancelo, and Erling Haaland were all involved for the blue half of Manchester while Casemiro’s inclusion signified the red half.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was influential in helping Jurgen Klopp’s side lift League Cup and FA Cup titles last season and was named in the eleven for his exploits.
FIFA’S ‘THE BEST’ AWARDS 2023
Best men’s player: Lionel Messi (PSG and Argentina)
Best women’s player: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona and Spain)
Best men’s coach: Lionel Scaloni (Argentina)
Best women’s coach: Sarina Wiegman (England)
Best men’s goalkeeper: Emiliano Martine (Aston Villa and Argentina)
Best women’s goalkeeper: Mary Earps (Man Utd and England)
Puskas Award: Marcin Oleksy (WARTA POZNAN v Stal Rzeszow)
Fan award: Argentina fans
Fair Play Award: Luka Lochoshvili (Wolfsburg)
FIFPRO men’s world XI:
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid and Belgium)
Defenders: Achraf Hakimi (PSG and Morocco) Joao Cancelo (Bayern Munich/Man City and Portugal) Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool and Holland)
Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium), Luca Modric (Real Madrid and Croatia) Casemiro (Manchester United and Brazil)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (PSG and Argentina), Kylian Mbappe (PSG and France), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) Erling Haaland (Manchester City and Norway)
FIFPRO women’s world XI:
Goalkeeper: Christiane Endler (Chile and Lyon)
Defenders: Lucy Bronze, Mapi Leon, Leah Williamson, Wendie Renard
Midfielders: Alexia Putellas, Lena Oberdorf, Alex Morgan,
Forwards: Sam Kerr, Beth Mead
Source of data and images: dailymail
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Lionel Messi has marked his resurgence to the top of football’s individual honours by beating French duo Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe to lift the men’s best player in the world award. Messi – previously the winner of seven Ballon d’Or’s – claimed his second The Best title and first since 2019 after being commended …
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