- FIFA’s annual Best Awards on Monday were a strange, somewhat confusing affair.
- They were riddled with odd choices and omissions, such as naming four strikers in the team of the year.
- The best women’s player winner, Alexia Putellas, was then left out of the women’s team of the year.
Cristiano Ronaldo was given a special award and was named in the FIFPRO Men’s World11 at a controversial, somewhat shambolic FIFA Best Awards in Zurich on Monday night.
The Manchester United star was given the “FIFA Special Award” for becoming the top scorer in the history of men’s international soccer.
FIFA unveiled the accolade for the 36-year-old during the ceremony with the forward describing it as the “pinnacle” of his “individual achievements.”
Ronaldo was also named in the FIFPRO Men’s World11, which was presented in a strange 3-3-4 formation, with four strikers, a team configuration that would almost certainly never be used in an elite soccer match.
As well as Ronaldo, the team included great rival Lionel Messi, Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland, and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, who scooped the FIFA Men’s Best Player award for a second year running.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah missed out, despite the Egyptian making the shortlist for the Men’s Best Player and Ronaldo being omitted.
The strange line-up also saw Paris Saint-Germain’s Gianluigi Donnarumma placed in goal. That came despite the fact that Chelsea’s Eduoard Mendy scooped FIFA Men’s Best Goalkeeper prize on the night.
David Alaba, Leonardo Bonucci, and Ruben Dias made up a three man defence, while Chelsea duo Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, were named in midfield.
—FIFPRO (@FIFPRO) January 17, 2022
There were similar controversies in the FIFPRO Women’s World11 too.
FC Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas won the Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, but was not included in line-up for the team of the year. In fact no Barcelona players featured, despite the club winning the Champions League and retaining its Primera Division title by dropping just three points all season.
27-year-old Putellas, who also won the Ballon d’Or in November and has been the standout player in the all-conquering Barca side, was delighted with her award, regardless of her omission from the team of the year.
“This belongs to everyone,” Putellas said after receiving the award. “I hope we can continue with the same or even more motivations this year and we can be very successful again.
“This is the work of many years. 2021 was perfect. We only hope to finish this year the same way.”
The FIFPRO Women’s World11 comprised of Christiane Endler in goal; Lucy Bronze, Wendie Renard, Millie Bright, and Magdalena Eriksson in defence; and Estefania Banini, Carli Lloyd, and Barbara Bonansea in midfield.
Vivianne Miedema, Marta, and Alex Morgan made up the front three.
—FIFPRO (@FIFPRO) January 17, 2022
PSG star Stephanie Labbe and Manchester City’s Janine Beckie both hit out at the line-up.
“This is a prime example of why we need more investment, media coverage and visibility for women’s soccer,” tweeted Labbe.
“Popularity shouldn’t win awards. Performances to win club and/or international championships should be rewarded but if you don’t see it you can’t award it.”
Beckie tweeted: “How does the player who won the Ballon D’Or & FIFA Best not make this team??? No Canadian players, won the Olympics… No Barca players, won the champions league… If we’re gonna say this is the BEST 11 from 2021… that doesn’t make sense.”
Courtesy By INSIDER