FIFA Puskás Award
Daniel Zsori was only 18 years of age, and looking out for the touchline to make his senior debut in the Hungarian top trip against Ferencvaros who were – at that time – top of the league. His boss Andras Herczeg gave him the gesture, with less than ten minutes left on the clock and his side trailing 1-0. What occurred next was the stuff of fantasy.
With the game heading into stoppage time and his side Debrecen level at 1-1, after team-mate Daniel Tozser had equalized out soon after his presentation, Zsori hauled a hare out of the hat.
Adam Bodi crossed the ball into the penalty box and I just thought: ‘Why not have a go?’ I’d practiced the move a lot of times in my training session and copied it from my idol, Cristiano Ronaldo. I held my breath for a minute as the ball flew towards the goal.”
‘The move’ was a superbly executed and stunning bicycle kick in stoppage time, which flew towards goal, past the helpless Ferencvaros goalkeeper, and into the net – verifying three-point for his side in the most emotional of styles. The fairytale’s finale has now observed Zsori claim the 2019 FIFA Puskás Award after a fan vote shortlisted his goal into the best three of the year and a board of legends chose him the award winner.
THE BEST FIFA MEN’S PLAYER: LIONEL MESSI
In a sparkling and superlative career to date, there are not many individual honors and records that Lionel Messi has not won. One that had evaded him was the title of The Best FIFA Men’s Player – until this year. After a magnificent domestic campaign which saw the evergreen Argentinean once again helped his side to the Spanish La Liga title, the tenth of his career, he also claims the European Golden Shoe for the 6th time after netting 36 league goals in 2018/19. His amazing goalscoring record didn’t block his ability to help his team-mate, with La Pulga registering the most La Liga assists (13) all through the campaign.
His brilliance also helped the Blaugrana to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals and the Copa Del Rey final while he played his part in Argentina’s third-place finish at the Copa America. It might have taken four attempts, however, Messi is presently The Best.
THE BEST FIFA WOMEN’S PLAYER: MEGAN RAPINOE
There are not many players as mysterious, nor as significant of their team, as Megan Rapinoe. A power of nature both on and off the pitch, the iconic No15 led the Stars and Stripes to a second successive FIFA Women’s World Cup™ triumph with an inspirational series of performance. Her capacity to score crucial goals at crucial moments – in a tight round of 16 game against Spain, against the hosts France in the quarter-final and in the France 2019 final itself – saw her claim both the Adidas Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the global finals.
Rapinoe can now add The Best FIFA Women’s Player to her long list of accolades: a two-time world champion, a hugely-decorated international superstar and an inspiration to millions.
THE BEST FIFA MEN’S COACH: JURGEN KLOPP
“Always the bridesmaid, never the bride…” so the expression goes. Jurgen Klopp will have felt, before this year, that he had been an unimportant guest at other people’s special days – having found himself defeated in the UEFA Champions League final twice (2012-13 and 2017-18) and the UEFA Europa League final (2015-16). This year, however, the ball was in Klopp’s court to cheer.
Some magnificent European nights for Liverpool, none more impressive than their wonderful come-from-behind 4-3 aggregate semi-final victory against Barcelona, saw the Reds reach at the apex of European football by being crowned Champions League winners in June. Their 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid was symbolic of their domestic campaign too, where they lost only once in the Premier League and achieved a fantastic 97-point haul, one short of inevitable champions Manchester City. Presently, he has another extraordinary day to remember – after being named The Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2019.
THE BEST FIFA WOMEN’S COACH: JILL ELLIS
How would you follow up reaching the apex of your profession by winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ and being named the world’s top coach in Women’s football? If you are Jill Ellis, you simply do it again. Following on from her resounding success in Canada 2015, Ellis’ exceptional Stars and Stripes squad cleared with or without in transit to the title at France 2019, and she has now been named The Best FIFA Women’s Coach 2019.
The USA was dominant in all viewpoints in France. In their seven games on the way to being crowned world champions, they scored an amazing 26 goals (3.7 goals per game) and conceded only three (0.4 goals per game). The victory sees Ellis, who will bring down the curtain on her successful reign as coach of the USWNT in October, become the only coach to lift the Women’s World Cup Trophy twice.
THE BEST FIFA GOALKEEPER: ALISSON
It is clear that 2018/19 was simply the season that Alisson announced himself as the undisputed No1 of world football. His arrival at Liverpool saw the Anfield outfit’s defense become as miserly as their attack is exciting, keeping a league-high 21 clean sheets in the English top flight. It was the club’s UEFA Champions League victory that saw their season at ultimately crowned a success, keeping five clean sheets (four in the knockout stages) as the Brazilian stopper – nearly as adept with his feet as he is with his hands – saw his club campaign conclude with silverware.
It didn’t stop there. After tasting continental success at the club level, he at then managed the same with A Seleção, lifting the Copa America in July. Alisson was named the tournament’s best goalkeeper, strikingly not letting in a single goal until the final – which means he conceded only once in six matches during the tournament.
THE BEST FIFA WOMEN’S GOALKEEPER: SARI VAN VEENENDAAL
It was eventually a year of disappointment for Oranjeleeuwinen but Sari van Veenendaal, along with some of her team-mate, can take pride in her own achievements despite ending the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ as a runner-up with the Netherlands. Her performance throughout the tournament at France 2019 earned her the Adidas Golden Glove award, and she has now been perceived as the inaugural winner of The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper award.
As well as keeping three clean sheets and placing in some remarkable performance to help her national side reach the final in France, she additionally shone domestically – playing her part as Arsenal Women strode to the league title.
FIFA MEN’S WORLD 11
Here they are! The 11 stars that earned a place in the FIFA FIFPro Men’s World11 2019 are:
- Alisson 🇧🇷 (GK)
- Matthijs de Ligt 🇳🇱 (DEF)
- Marcelo 🇧🇷 (DEF)
- Sergio Ramos 🇪🇸 (DEF)
- Virgil van Dijk 🇳🇱 (DEF)
- Frenkie de Jong 🇳🇱 (MF)
- Eden Hazard 🇧🇪 (MF)
- Luka Modric 🇭🇷 (MF)
- Cristiano Ronaldo 🇵🇹 (FW)
- Kylian Mbappe 🇫🇷 (FW)
- Lionel Messi 🇦🇷 (FW)
FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD11
The wait is over. The 11 stars that earned a place in the inaugural FIFA FIFPro Women’s World11 2019 are:
- Sari van Veenendaal 🇳🇱 (GK)
- Lucy Bronze (DEF)
- Nilla Fischer 🇸🇪 (DEF)
- Kelley O’Hara 🇺🇸 (DEF)
- Wendie Renard 🇫🇷 (DEF)
- Julie Ertz 🇺🇸 (MF)
- Amandine Henry 🇫🇷 (MF)
- Rose Lavelle 🇺🇸 (MF)
- Marta 🇧🇷 (FW)
- Alex Morgan 🇺🇸 (FW)
- Megan Rapinoe (FW)