Lionel Messi won the second FIFA The Best honour of his career, recognized as the top men’s player in world football, while Alexia Putellas won her second women’s trophy in a row, as the seventh edition of the FIFA awards show unfolded on Monday, February 27 in Paris.
Messi, who last won this trophy in 2019, was one of four Argentine recipients on a night that recognised the 2022 World Cup champions. Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martinez won The Best men’s goalkeeper, Lionel Scaloni claimed The Best men’s manager, and Argentina’s fans earned The Best fan award for their show of support in Qatar.
Among the award recipients on the women’s side, England’s Mary Earps won best goalkeeper, while England manager Sarina Wiegman captured the top coach honour after the Lionesses won their first major trophy at Euro 2022.
Despite earning the vote as top goalkeepers, Martinez and Earps were not voted by their peers onto the FIFPro World 11 teams. However, Messi and Putellas both made it.
FIFA has been holding The Best awards since 2016 after the world governing body opted to establish its own awards following years of attaching its name to the prestigious Ballon d’Or awards run by French publication France Football. The Ballon d’Or, the FIFA The Best awards, and the Globe Soccer awards are recognised as the most coveted annual global football honours.
Voting for the FIFA The Best men’s awards was based on performances between August 2021 and December 2022 to incorporate the FIFA men’s World Cup which concluded in December. The women’s awards voting was based on competitions taking place between August 2021 to July 2022, taking into account last summer’s Euro 2022 and Copa America 2022 tournaments.
There were 10 award categories in total, including the FIFPro World 11 all-star teams for men and women. Pele’s wife was also presented with recognition for the legacy of the Brazilian great who passed away in December 2022.
FIFA The Best 2023 winners and voting results
The Best men’s player: Lionel Messi
The Best women’s player: Alexia Putellas
The Best men’s goalkeeper: Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martinez
The Best women’s goalkeeper: Mary Earps
The Best men’s coach: Lionel Scaloni
The Best women’s coach: Sarina Wiegman
The Best Puskas award: Marcin Oleksy
The Best Fan award: Argentina fans
The Best Fair Play award: Luka Lochoshvili
Special tribute: Pele
FIFA Player of the Year (Men’s)
Winner: Lionel Messi (PSG / Argentina)
After he was the best player at the 2022 World Cup for champions Argentina, there was little doubt that Lionel Messi would claim this award again for the second time after doing so in 2019 (he also finished second last year to Robert Lewandowski). Adding to his candidature, Messi was also one of PSG’s key players in their run to the 2021/22 French Ligue 1 title.
Kylian Mbappe had a strong 2022 himself, winning the Ligue 1 title alongside Messi, and also capturing the Ligue 1 top scorer title, as well as the 2022 World Cup Golden Boot.
Karim Benzema, who won the Ballon D’Or in October, finished as the top scorer in both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, as he led his club side Real Madrid to both titles, before missing out on the World Cup with France due to injury. He was not present at the ceremony in Paris.
“It’s a pleasure to be back here,” Messi said in accepting the award. “I want to thank my teammates. [Lionel] Scaloni, Dibu [Martinez] – we’re representing them [Argentina teammates]. This award is partly theirs, and it’s a recognition for the whole group and what we did.
“This year was crazy for me to fulfill my dream [of winning the World Cup] after plenty of battling and insisting. At the end, it came. And it’s the greatest thing that has happened to me in my career. Few players get to do it [win the World Cup], and thank God, I was able to do it.”
FIFA Player of the Year (Women’s)
Winner: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona / Spain)
Alexia Putellas won it for the second year in a row, steering Barcelona to domestic titles, but losing in the UEFA Champions League final. She also missed out on Euro 2022 with Spain due to an ACL injury in the lead-up to the tournament. She appeared surprised she won it and she admitted she was unprepared as far as remarks.
She was thanking people as they were popping into mind. “Thanks to all these persons who’ve been there every day during my whole life. Thanks to them, I am who I am. I am made up of bits of everyone who I’ve come across along the way.”