There is no way around Lionel Messi. A good two months after the World Cup victory, Argentina’s superstar was named FIFA’s best footballer of the year 2022. For Messi, it was FIFA’s seventh World Player of the Year award since 2009 – and possibly the last of his extraordinary career.
The 35-year-old offensive dribbler from Paris Saint-Germain prevailed in the final of the world association’s “The Best Gala” against his French club colleague Mbappé and his compatriot Karim Benzema. This is exactly what causes some discussions about the gala in Paris. It’s about a dispute about direction and the questions: Was Messi’s outstanding World Cup tournament the right evaluation criterion? Or should the consistently good year of Real striker Karim Benzema, who missed the World Cup injured, have been the yardstick?
The affront came from Madrid
In any case, the superstars of Real Madrid, including Benzema and German international Antonio Rüdiger, stayed away from the ceremony. Allegedly in protest against the award and the non-consideration of their young star Vinicius Junior on the 26-player shortlist for the world eleven. Officially, because they are preparing for the cup game against FC Barcelona on Thursday.
Real joy looks different: Kylian Mbappé (left), like Achraf Hakimi, only made it into the men’s eleven of the year
The verdict of the vote by fans, journalists, coaches and captains of the national teams of all FIFA countries thus put Messi back on the throne after the World Cup victory in Qatar. “It’s a special award and a great honor,” said the Argentine, sending greetings to his three children.
The World Cup was also the mood barometer in the other important men’s price categories. The best goalkeeper was Argentina’s final hero Emiliano Martinez and not Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois. For coaching, Albiceleste boss Lionel Scaloni prevailed over Real’s Carlo Ancelotti and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.
Not a good year for German men’s football
This also ended the German series: Jürgen Klopp (2019 and 2020) and Thomas Tuchel (2021) had been honored for their successes with Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC in recent years. But 2022 was not a good year for German men’s football – with Qatar as the low point. After all, Rüdiger had been nominated for the world eleven.
There was no discussion among the women. As with the men, the decision took place here without German participation. Spain’s Alexia Putellas from FC Barcelona won again despite missing the European Championship in the summer due to a cruciate ligament rupture. The German European Championship finalists were absent from the individual awards ceremony on stage, with the exception of Ann-Kathrin Berger from Chelsea FC, who had to give way to English European champion Mary Earps in the category of best goalkeeper. After all, Lena Oberdorf was appointed to the world eleven.
rb/ww (dpa, SID)