The Best Fifa Awards have crowned the best players of last year, and fans couldn’t be more confused with the results. We’ve seen some well-earned accolades – Luka Modric as best Player being the most notable – but we’ve also seen some more confusing results.
Any awards show that kicks-off with Idris Elba wearing a waistcoat dedicated to England’s World Cup man-of-the-moment Gareth Southgate, by literally covering it with pictures of his face, was always going to have some talking points. But few fans expected that the biggest talking points were how confusing the resulting awards would be.
Firstly, few could figure out how the voting system worked. Who was actually voting for the awards? Was anyone voting? Or was this all being made up as the awards went along?
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah had a fairy-tale year in the world of football, becoming the highest scoring player in Europe, leading Liverpool to a Champions League final and helping Egypt reach their first World Cup Finals in 28 years.
Though he was unlucky to lose out on best player to Luka Modric, who to be fair had a cracking year also – lifting Real Madrid’s third Champions League trophy in a row is no mean feat – it was surprising to see him awarded the Puskas award for a goal that most fans wouldn’t place in his top 5 goals of last season. It seemed as though Fifa just wanted to give him something.
After being named the third best male player behind Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo, he wasn’t named in the World XI. Manchester United’s David De Gea was included as the team’s goalkeeper but missed out on the individual keeper award to Thibaut Courtois.
Probably the most shocking inclusion in the Fifpro Best XI is that of PSG right-back Dani Alves. The Brazilian makes it into the team for the eighth time out of the past nine years whilst being injured for a large portion of the year.
Obviously, the team of the year is subjective. With so much quality on offer it is difficult to narrow it down to 11 players and there are arguments for and against the inclusion of every player in the World XI. But there are two main omissions from the team that nearly every football fan the world over would agree with: Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne.
Kevin De Bruyne was instrumental for a dominant Manchester City team that won the Premier League and did way more to deserve a place than Chelsea’s Eden Hazard who, admittedly had a good World Cup for Belgium, but had a very poor season in the Premier League after falling out with Antonio Conte.
Kylian Mbappe is a hot prospect at the moment, and his World Cup performances have definitely seen his stock rise, yet we don’t feel he has done enough over the past year to warrant a place ahead of Europe’s leading scorer Mo Salah.