FIFA The Best Football Awards: Lionel Messi Beats Cristiano Ronaldo to Win Player of the Year, Megan Rapinoe Bags Women's Honour
FIFA The Best Football Awards: Lionel Messi beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk to win Men’s Player award while Megan Rapinoe took the Women’s top prize.
Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe won the top prize at FIFA The Best Awards. (Photo Credit: FIFA)
Milan: Lionel Messi won the FIFA Men's Player of the Year award on Monday in FIFA The Best Football Awards at La Scala opera house in Milan while Megan Rapinoe took the women's prize to cap a historic year for the United States' World Cup icon.
Barcelona forward Messi's victory in Milan was a surprise as he edged out Virgil Van Dijk, who won the UEFA player's award last month after helping Liverpool to the Champions League last season.
With the Champions League in the bag and the UEFA Nations League final to his name, van Dijk was believed to be the frontrunner for the award but it sprung a surprise as Messi took the honours. Both Messi and van Dijk are in the running for the coveted Ballon d'Or which will be announced on December 2.
Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo had also been shortlisted for the award.
Rapinoe, on the other hand, beat fellow World Cup winner Alex Morgan and England's Lucy Bronze to the women's title. The 34-year-old won the Golden Boot for being top scorer and the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup, and also became the face of the tournament for her outspoken views on US president Donald Trump.
Rapinoe’s award-winning speech was no different as she spoke her mind and picked up relevant issues to address once again, asking everyone to act on the things that really matter.
“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.
“If we want change, everyone has to contribute. I want to see people other than Sterling and Koulibaly as outraged about racism. People other than LGBQT community outraged about homophobia. To all people here, Lend your platform to others, lift them up, share your success.
“We have a unique opportunity in football, different to any other sport in the world, to use this beautiful game to actually change the world for the better. So that’s my torch to everyone, I hope you take that to heart and do something, do anything. We have incredible power in this room,” 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
(With AFP inputs)
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