After winning the Spanish La Liga trophy with Barcelona last season, Lionel Messi was yesterday announced the winner of the 2019 FIFA Best Men’s Player award, beating out Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo.
It was the 32-year-old’s first win since the award separated from France Football’s Ballon d’Or award in 2017. Since that separation, every player who has won FIFA’s The Best award has gone on to claim the Ballon d’Or as well.
It looked like the voters opted to reward Messi’s scoring prowess, rather than Van Dijk’s impact on his teams’ overall success and their head-to-head encounter in the UEFA Champions League or Cristiano Ronaldo’s scoring prowess as well as trophy cabin.
Lionel Messi won a record sixth Golden Boot by scoring 36 goals in La Liga and added 12 in the Champions League. He fell flat at the Copa America, however, with just one goal in six outings and a red card in the third-place play-off against Chile.
Vigil Van Dijk won the UEFA Champions’ League with Liverpool, helped his country the Netherlands to reach the UEFA Nations League Finals as well as his solid defensive displays that helped Liverpool to overturn what was seemingly an impossible comeback in the semi-finals, beating Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield on their way to the European title.
Van Dijk also made the final of the UEFA Nations League before losing to Ronaldo’s Portugal. He was awarded the UEFA Men’s Player of the Season award, and his club Liverpool lost the Premier League title by a single point to Manchester City.
“Van Dijk should have won ahead of the Argentinian,” said Samatha Quek of the Mirror.
How National Coaches, Captains and Media Personalities voted:
Another contender for this accolade, who was not mentioned anywhere in the run-in, is Portugal and Manchester City attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva. Silva won four trophies with his Manchester City club on top of adding the UEFA Nations League with Portugal.
He was named man of the match in the final match against Holland and was then awarded the Player of the Tournament accolade. In the entire year, Silva scored more than 20 goals for club and country making 15 assists.
Bernardo won the Premier League, FA Cup, Community Shield and Carabao Cup with City and was also named in the PFA Team of the Year.
Another contender, Cristiano Ronaldo won the Serie A title in his first year with Juventus, but he scored just 21 league goals. Unlike the other two finalists, he did add international silverware to his collection, winning the Nations League with Portugal.
Messi was also nominated for the Puskas award but lost out to Hungary’s Daniel Zsori.
BY PAUL TENTENA