Messi, Rapinoe bag top honours at Best FIFA Football Awards
Milan (Italy), Sep. 24 (IANS): Barcelona star striker Lionel Messi won the men’s best player while US forward Megan Rapinoe took home the women’s award at the Best FIFA Football Awards which took place in a glittering ceremony at Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
Messi, who helped Barcelona win La Liga and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, won the player of the year award for a sixth time as Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk missed out on the top prize late on Monday.
Earlier, the Argentine had won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Rapinoe was rewarded at the FIFA Best awards for leading the US to the women’s World Cup title in July. She scored six goals in the tournament, earning her the Golden Boot for the tournament’s top scorer and the Golden Ball as the top player.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp was awarded with men’s coach of the year award. Klopp coached Liverpool to the Champions League title last season, as well as a record-breaking second-place finish in the Premier League. The Reds also currently top this season’s table too.
In the women’s category, US national team coach Jill Ellis won the top prize after taking her side all the way in the World Cup this summer. Ellis is the only women’s coach to win the World Cup twice.
Sari van Veenendaal was named the inaugural best women’s goalkeeper, joining her custodian counterpart Alisson who picked up best men’s goalkeeper award.
The Puskas Award for the best goal of the year went to 18-year-old Daniel Zsori for his spectacular 93rd-minute overhead kick for Debrecen against Ferencvaros, just after he came on as a substitute for his Hungarian league debut in February.
The FIFA Fair Play award was taken home by Marcelo Bielsa and the Leeds United squad, after the Argentinean coach and his team ultimately sacrificed promotion for his team to uphold the values of fair play — instructing his Leeds United team to allow an equaliser after his side had gone 1-0 up with an opposition player down injured.