It’s not as if football’s governing bodies, FIFA, UEFA and the FA, inspire a lot of confidence around these parts. The first is fatally corrupt, the second money-hungry at the expense of domestic club football and the third opaque, inconsistent and out of touch.
So why should we be surprised when FIFA announces its annual ‘The Best’ awards finalists and Chelsea Women are shut out despite the most successful season in club history?
In the women’s category, Emma Hayes isn’t among the three finalists for awkwardly-named The Best Women’s Coach of the Year Award, despite leading Chelsea to the (unbeaten!) League and FA Cup double, and reaching the Champions League semi-finals in just the club’s third appearance in the pan-European competition. The three finalists are Reynald Pedros, who won the Champions League with Lyon, Asako Takakura (Japan) and Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands).
At least Hayes was among the ten nominees announced in July. Fran Kirby didn’t even make that initial cut for The Best FIFA Women’s Player.
All she did was score 25 goals in 36 appearances, win the Player’s Player of the Year and Football Writer’s Association Footballer of the Year awards, and be named to the PFA Team of the Year and the UEFA Champions League squad of the year. According to FIFA, Ada Hegerberg (Lyon), Dzsenifer Marozsán (Lyon) and Marta (Orlando Pride) all had better seasons.
On the men’s side, Eden Hazard, not unexpectedly, did not make the cut from the 10 nominees to the 3 finalists for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award. Lionel Messi didn’t either, which is all kinds of hilarious.
The man Messi nutmegged twice in the Champions League however, and who finally made his Real Madrid debut this weekend after becoming very familiar with the substitutes bench, is nominated for best goalkeeper. Sure, Courtois had a very good World Cup, but that seems to have been the only consideration in choosing the three finalists. Sorry, all other, more worthy candidates!
Here are all of the 2018 nominees.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player:
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Juventus FC, formerly Real Madrid CF)
- Luka Modrić (Croatia/Real Madrid CF)
- Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool FC)
The Best FIFA Women’s Player:
- Ada Hegerberg (Norway/Olympique Lyonnais)
- Dzsenifer Marozsán (Germany/Olympique Lyonnais)
- Marta (Brazil/Orlando Pride)
The Best FIFA Men’s Coach:
- Zlatko Dalić (Croatia national team)
- Didier Deschamps (France national team)
- Zinédine Zidane (formerly Real Madrid CF)
The Best FIFA Women’s Coach:
- Reynald Pedros (Olympique Lyonnais)
- Asako Takakura (Japan national team)
- Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands national team)
The Best FIFA Goalkeeper:
- Thibaut Courtois (Belgium/Real Madrid CF, formerly Chelsea FC)
- Hugo Lloris (France/Tottenham Hotspur FC)
- Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark/Leicester City FC)
FIFA Puskás Award:
- Gareth Bale (Real Madrid CF) – v. Liverpool FC
- Denis Cheryshev (Russia) – v. Croatia
- Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (AEK FC) – v. Olympiacos FC
- Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Cruzeiro) – v. América MG
- Riley McGree (Newcastle Jets FC) – v. Melbourne City FC
- Lionel Messi (Argentina) – v. Nigeria
- Benjamin Pavard (France) – v. Argentina
- Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal) – v. IR Iran
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) – v. Juventus FC
- Mohamed Salah (Liverpool FC) – v. Everton FC
They’ll probably pick Pavard, since it happened in the World Cup. Sorry, Gareth!