Who will win The Best Fifa Awards? Predictions as Messi and Mbappe go head to head
The Best Fifa Football Awards take place tonight in a glamorous Paris ceremony inexplicably hosted by Jermaine Jenas.
There are several awards on offer for footballing exploits in 2022. The best men’s and women’s players are the marquee prizes, while the best goalkeepers are also recognised and get their own category. There are awards for the best coaches from the men’s and women’s games, and the Puskas Award celebrates the year’s outstanding goal, before the men’s and women’s world XIs are announced.
Finally there is the Fifa Fair Play Award and the Fan Award. The latter has three nominees: Argentina’s fans for their passionate support at the World Cup; Japanese spectators who were hailed for cleaning up stadiums after their matches; and a man called Abdullah Alsulmi who spent 55 days walking from Jeddah to Doha, across the Arabian desert, to watch Saudi Arabia play in Qatar.
Who is going to win?
The men’s main award is almost certainly making the short trip home with Lionel Messi, although the irony is that for all his brilliance it would almost certainly be going home with his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe had the World Cup final’s penalty shootout gone the other way.
Given it was an outcome beyond either of their control once they’d scored their penalties, you could argue that the entire premise of the award ceremony is undermined because it is defined by externally influenced results rather than simply their individual performance, but let’s skirt around that rabbit hole.
Karim Benzema is the third player nominated, having captained Real Madrid to another Champions League glory, scoring plenty of crucial goals along the way.
The women’s award is harder to call. Arsenal’s Beth Mead was outstanding as England won Euro 2022 on home soil, while Alex Morgan starred as the US won the Concacaf Championship. Yet Alexia Putellas could well take home the prize for a second year running, despite spending much of 2022 injured, given Barcelona’s dominance in Spain last season and their run to the Champions League final, all spearheaded by her goals from midfield.
Emi Martinez and Thibaut Courtois are the most likely winners of the men’s goalkeeper prize - Martinez’s starring role in the World Cup final should give him the victory, although the last time he went on stage to collect an award it ended with quite a spectacle. Lyon’s ever-consistent Christiane Endler may edge out England’s Mary Earps as the best women’s keeper.
Lionel Scaloni is a sure bet to win the men’s coach award after guiding Argentina to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years, and Sarina Wiegman could well pick up the women’s prize for plotting England’s Euros glory.
The Puskas Award is always the most subjective and you could argue Richarlison’s goal for Brazil against Serbia, while wonderfully taken, wasn’t even the best goal at the World Cup. He is up against Dimitri Payet’s well-hit shot on the bounce (shouldn’t win), and amputee Marcin Oleksy’s incredible scissor-kick finish (should win).
You’d like to think the aforementioned Al Salmi will win the fan award after his desert odyssey.
Here are the mani 2022 nominations:
The Best FIFA Men’s Player
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
The Best FIFA Women’s Player
Beth Mead (Arsenal)
Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave)
Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper
Yassine Bounou (Sevilla)
Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper
Ann-Katrin Berger (Chelsea)
Mary Earps (Manchester United)
Christiane Endler (Lyon)
The Best FIFA Men’s Coach
Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid)
Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
Lionel Scaloni (Argentina)
The Best FIFA Women’s Coach
Sonia Bompastor (Lyon)
Pia Sundhage (Brazil)
Sarina Wiegman (England)
Marcin Oleksy (Poland): Warta PoznaÅ v. Stal Rzeszów [PZU Amp Futbol Ekstraklasa] (6 November 2022)
Dimitri Payet (France): Olympique de Marseille v. PAOK Thessaloniki [UEFA Europa Conference League] (7 April 2022)
Richarlison (Brazil): Brazil v. Serbia [FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022] (24 November 2022)
And here are the previous winners of the main prizes:
Men’s Best Player
2016 — Cristiano Ronaldo
2017 — Cristiano Ronaldo
2018 — Luka Modric
2019 — Lionel Messi
2020 – Robert Lewandowski
2021 – Robert Lewandowski
Women’s Best Player
2016 — Carli Lloyd
2017 — Lieke Martens
2018 — Marta
2019 — Megan Rapinoe
2020 – Lucy Bronze
2021 — Alexia Putellas
How to watch
Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the ceremony live on the BBC via the red button or BBC iPlayer, with coverage from 8pm BST.