Friday saw FIFA announce the 2017 finalists for their highly coveted awards ceremony, celebrating everything good about football – from the brilliance of fans, to the best goal scored over the past year, and, of course, the Player of the Year award.
Now, there’s a fair few amount of awards to be handed out in London on October 23, and voting has already started – so wouldn’t it be really useful if all the information was just piled into one article?
Funny you should say that…
1. The Best FIFA Men’s Player
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid CF)
Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona)
Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain)
Now whether you class FIFA’s player of the year award or the Ballon d’Or as more prestigious, no one can dispute that this individual award means a great deal.
The three finalists in Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar have been cut down from an original shortlist of 24; but, let’s be honest – was it ever going to be anyone other than those three? Highly regarded as the planet’s best trio, Twitter always gets a bit intense when this kind of debate rears its head – and this year it will be no different.
2. The Best FIFA Women’s Player
Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela/Santa Clarita Blue Heat/Florida State Seminoles)
Carli Lloyd (USA/Houston Dash/Manchester City Women)
Lieke Martens (Netherlands/FC Rosengard/FC Barcelona)
At only 18 years old, Deyna Castellanos makes the list after a season worthy of earning UWS Player of the Year. She’s joined by highly decorated US international and current FIFA Women’s Player holder Carli Lloyd, as well as Lieke Martens – UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 winner and Player of the Tournament.
3. The Best FIFA Men’s Coach
Massimiliano Allegri (Italy/Juventus)
Antonio Conte (Italy/Chelsea)
Zinedine Zidane (France/Real Madrid CF)
Scudetto and Coppa Italia winner? Check. Debutant Premier League winner? Check. Champions League and La Liga winner? Check. This year’s Men’s coach award looks to be one hell of a battle.
4. The Best FIFA Women’s Coach
Nils Nielsen (Denmark/Danish national team)
Gerard Precheur (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands/Dutch national team).
Nils Nielsen earns his name amongst the top three for a superlative Euro 2017 campaign – reaching all the way to the final (and beating Germany along the way). Meanwhile Gerard Precheur was almost a dead cert to make the list after a second treble winning season in a row with Lyon, and Sarin Wiegman rightfully takes the third spot after guiding the Dutch national team to Euro 2017 glory.
5. The Best FIFA Goalkeeper
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus)
Keylor Navas (Costa Rica/Real Madrid CF)
Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern München).
Ever-present Juventus stopper Gianluigi Buffon has become part of the soil at the Allianz Stadium in the last 20 years – helping his side reach all the way to the Champions League final last season. Keylor Navas’ rise to power after an impressive 2014 World Cup performance, and Manuel Neuer also makes the list – despite a rather injury plagued 2017.
6. FIFA Puskas Award
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana/Las Palmas/23.10.2016)
Alejandro Camargo (Argentina/Universidad de Conception/04.12.2016)
Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela/Venezuela U-17 Women national team/24.10.2016)
Moussa Dembele (France/Celtic FC/05.02.2017)
Olivier Giroud (France/Arsenal/01.01.2017)
Aviles Hurtado (Colombia/Tijuana Xolos/01.04.2017)
Mario Mandzukic (Croatia/Juventus/03.06.2017)
Oscarine Masuluke (South Africa/Baroka FC/30.11.2016)
Nemanja Matic (Serbia/Chelsea/23.04.2017)
Jordi Mboula (Spain/ FC Barcelona Youth/22.02.2017)
Now while we can’t fit videos of all of these goals in here, take the word from FIFA that there are some absolute screamers amongst that list. We’re talking scorpion kicks, cup final bicycle kicks. and wonderkid solo efforts (but no spoilers) – go discover for yourselves. You’ll be grateful.
Okay fine, here’s one just to whet the appetite a little. Kevin Prince Boateng’s effort for Las Palmas. It’s honestly something that’s come straight out of that childhood classic Shaolin Soccer…
Oh lord, that’s tasty. Check the rest out here, and don’t forget to vote: FIFA Puskas Award.
7. FIFA Fan Award
By far the most heartwarming award. Dortmund make the list after offering to shelter Atletico Madrid fans for the night after the German side’s team bus was attacked and their Champions League fixture agaisnt the Spanish outfit was postponed by a day.
Celtic Park gave off a 360 degree card display towards the end of the 2016/17 season that coincided with their 50th anniversary of winning the European Cup.
When Copenhagen won the Danish Cup final, the players offered the trophy to the fans – who then halted celebrations in order to give the cup to a wheelchair-bound fan.
Voted for your favourite set of fans here: FIFA Fan Award.