Lionel Messi was crowned men’s player of the year at the Best FIFA awards on Monday night. But he risked angering his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe after favouring Neymar with his own vote. Messi won the award at the ceremony in Paris following another sensational year on the pitch.
Messi was in imperious form throughout 2022 as he bagged 17 goals and 18 assists in 41 matches to prove that his powers aren’t waning at the age of 35. The forward helped PSG win the Ligue 1 title last season, before finally getting his hands on the World Cup trophy when Argentina defeated France in the Qatar final in December.
Players, managers, fans and the media were all able to cast votes in the Best FIFA awards, with Messi asked to select his top three Players due to his role as Argentina captain. Messi’s first-place vote went to Brazil international Neymar, with Mbappe being chosen in second place and Karim Benzema being selected in third.
It’s the third time in three years that Messi has put Neymar ahead of Mbappe, with the Frenchman yet to get his hands on the trophy since its launch in 2017. And Mbappe is unlikely to be happy with Messi’s snub as his output in front of goal dwarfed that of Neymar’s throughout last year.
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Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk made it into the three-man defence, with Manchester City star Joao Cancelo, who was shipped off to Bayern Munich on loan during the January transfer window, and PSG star Achraf Hakimi being named alongside him. And Champions League winner Thibaut Courtois was given the nod between the posts.
Meanwhile, Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas took the honours in the women’s voting as she was named Best FIFA women’s player, while San Diego Wave striker Alex Morgan pipped England and Arsenal star Beth Mead to second place.