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FIFA’s ‘The Best’ men’s award decision spark debate among sports fans

Jordan Jones
Many soccer fans around the world disagreed with FIFA’s choice for the award, claiming that their decision was unfair and that they had “rigged” the voting process.

Soccer sensation Lionel Messi was crowned with The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award, making it his third time winning it and his 56th individual award. Many soccer fans have expressed their emotions over the decision. 

“[They didn’t choose the winner fairly], because the FIFA’s Best award was from 2023, and Messi won the World Cup in 2022, and they still gave it to him even though he did nothing special in 2023,” junior Shaurya Jain said.

“I see why they gave it to him, but there was a long list of people who could [won], especially after he moved to Miami, where the competition isn’t challenging,” varsity soccer coach Joshua Robinson said. “If we looked at who had the best year, it was not Messi.”

On January 15, FIFA held its annual The Best Awards ceremony in London. The winners were decided by coaches and captains of national teams, journalists, and fans on Many soccer fans claim that these decisions are biased and often result in unjust decisions for the winners of the awards.

Many speculated how Messi was able to surpass other goalscoring attackers. When asked, Jain replied, “Haaland, [who] won [three trophies in a single season]. He broke the goalscoring record in the Premier League in his first year. He also won the Golden Boot [of the Premier League].”

Others feel that FIFA should incorporate all positions instead of only awarding the top goalscorers. 

“If we looked at who had the best year, it was not Messi,” Robinson said. “They gotta find a way to give it to defenders. Some defenders are the best players in the world. Philip Lahm was one of the best [German] defenders and never got it. They gotta give it to guys who are the most impactful, a [center defensive midfielder], like Tony Kroos.”

Sport Illustrated FanNation Fútbol made a chart that showed the number of votes for the top three nominees for the award, who were Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, and Messi.

There were four main categories of votes: national team coaches and captains, media, and fans. In the national team coaches category, Haaland outnumbered both of his competitors, doing so by less than 100 votes. But Messi was ahead by more than 100 votes in the national team captains category. In the media category, Haaland dominated, almost doubling either of his competitor’s votes. But in the fans category, Messi blew them out of the water with a lead of 300,000 votes. The votes were calculated and the scoring points results were: Mbappe in third with 35 points, and Messi and Haaland tied with 48 scoring points. But since Messi received more national team captain’s votes, he was decided as the winner.

FIFA also awarded Aitana Bonmatí as the best women’s player, who is a midfielder for Spain’s national women’s team and FC Barcelona’s Femení team. She also won the Ballon d’Or Femení in 2022. 

Other award winners were: Ederson as The Best Men’s goalkeeper, Mary Earps as The Best Women’s goalkeeper, Pep Guardiola as The Best Men’s coach, Sarina Wiegman as The Best Women’s coach, and the Puskas Award, or the Best Goal, was given to Guilherme Madruga. 

FIFA also created a starting IX for men and women. For the men’s team, the lineup had Thibaut Courtois as goalkeeper. They chose Rúben Dias, John Stones, and Kyle Walker for the defense. For the midfield, they chose Jude Bellingham, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva. And for the forwards, they chose Haaland, Vinícius Júnior, Kylian Mbappé, and Lionel Messi.

Six players from Guardiola’s Manchester City team were included in the men’s starting lineup.

For the Women’s starting IX, they chose: Mary Earps as the goalkeeper, Alex Greenwood, Lucy Bronze, and Olga Carmona as the defenders, Aitana Bonmatí, Ella Toone, and Keira Walsh as the midfielders, Alex Morgan, Alessia Russo, Lauren James, and Samantha Kerr as the forwards.

Seven out of the eleven players were from Wiegman’s English national team, who led them to the finals of the Women’s World Cup in 2023.

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About the Contributors
Carlos Sanchez
Carlos is a junior at Metea and this is his first year on staff as a sports reporter. He enjoys playing soccer and listening to music, specifically jazz or R&B songs. He is also pretty good at thrifting.
Jordan Jones
Jordan Jones is a junior at Metea Valley and is equally as importantly one of the six astonishing MCs this school year. Jordan is heavily influenced by the art of music, with it being his main source of inspiration for many writing pieces. Jordan loves smiling and laughing with the people in his community!

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    AbhiMar 4, 2024 at 5:26 pm

    Haaland deserved the Ballon D’or and this award, Messi has done nothing to deserve either of these.