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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 April 2024

Lionel Messi wins 'tiebreaker' with Erling Haaland to win Fifa’s best men’s player prize on Monday

Argentine trumps Haaland for 8th Fifa award

AP/PTI London Published 17.01.24, 11:14 AM
An image of Lionel Messi is displayed during The Best Fifa Football Awards ceremony in London on Monday

An image of Lionel Messi is displayed during The Best Fifa Football Awards ceremony in London on Monday Reuters

Lionel Messi landed another prestigious award in football — barely.

The Argentina star needed a tiebreaker with Erling Haaland to win Fifa’s best men’s player prize on Monday. And he has national team captains to thank.

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The voting breakdown showed Messi and Haaland with 48 points each after voting by a global panel of national team coaches and captains, selected journalists, plus fans online. The tiebreaker was whoever had more first-place or “5-point” scores from the votes of national team captains. That category was 107 to 64 for the Inter Miami forward.

Neither player showed up at the awards ceremony at Hammersmith Apollo theatre in West London. Kylian Mbappe, the third finalist, skipped it too.

Messi had moved from Paris Saint-Germain to Inter Miami and led the David Be­ckham-owned team to a little-known Leagues Cup title — all while single-handedly elevating football’s relevance in the United States.

The 36-year-old Argentina star also topped Haaland and Mbappe for his eighth Ballon d’Or award last October.

World Cup champion Ai­tana Bonmati showed up — and cleaned up. The 25-year-old Spain playmaker was na­med Fifa’s best women’s footballer, building on her Ballon d’Or award last October, which followed a Uefa award in August.

“The Best” awards represent Fifa’s version of the older and more prestigious Ballon d’Or prize.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was named best men’s coach, and England coach Sarina Wiegman took the women’s prize. Guardiola led City to a treble of titles: Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup.

Messi secured the Fifa aw­ard for the eighth time in 15 years. He had won it last year, too, after leading Argentina to the 2022 World Cup title.

Fans voted overwhelmingly for Messi, and journalists favoured Haaland. The Man City striker had a slight edge in the votes from national team coaches. The national team captains leaned toward Messi.

The men’s award did not consider the World Cup, which ended 13 months ago.

The best goalkeeper aw­ards went to Ederson of Brazil and Manchester City, and Mary Earps of England and Manchester United.


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