▶ The Best FIFA Men's Player finalists revealed
| Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi have been announced as the three finalists for The Best FIFA Men's Player Award 2022.
The accolade recognises the most outstanding performers in the men’s game from the period of 8 August 2021 to 18 December 2022. The winner of the illustrious prize will be revealed at a Paris ceremony on 27 February 2023.
A total of 14 players were initially nominated for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award, having been chosen by a panel of experts. From this shortlist, the three finalists have been selected by an international jury comprising: men’s national team coaches, men’s national team captains, football journalists, and fans who voted on FIFA’s official website.
Finalists in focus
Benzema’s enduring quality was on show during a fabulous 2021/22, as he fired Real Madrid to domestic and European glory.
The 35-year-old attacker combines a potent arsenal of technical attributes with a warrior’s mentality – and he regularly delivered at clutch moments last season. Real’s UEFA Champions League run was one of legend, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side recording a succession of dramatic knockout-stage triumphs to progress to the final. Benzema inspired each of those successes with a barely-credible run of form. He hit hat-tricks against Paris St Germain in the round of 16 and Chelsea in the quarter-finals, before scoring three goals across two legs as Real eliminated Manchester City in the last four. Vinicius Junior slotted the winner in Real’s final victory over Liverpool, but the 2021/22 Champions League will be remembered as Benzema’s tournament. He won the award for the competition’s best player and finished as its top scorer with 15 goals. Benzema was also the leading marksman in La Liga, netting 27 times as Real won a 35th domestic title.
Benzema’s 2022 ended in significant disappointment as injury ruled him out of the FIFA World Cup™, but his magnificent achievements throughout the year make him a worthy contender for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award.
Did you know?
Benzema has now scored in the Champions League in 17 consecutive seasons from 2005/06 to 2021/22.
Mbappe may only have turned 24 in December, but his remarkable Qatar 2022™ exploits have irrefutably cemented his reputation as an all-time World Cup great.
After announcing himself on the global stage at Russia 2018™, the Frenchman again showcased his wealth of explosive qualities in Qatar. Mbappe netted eight goals to win the tournament’s Golden Boot and he became the first player in 56 years to score a hat-trick in the World Cup final. Mbappe’s performance against Argentina in the Lusail Stadium showpiece will go down in folklore, as he almost single-handedly dragged France back into the contest when all seemed lost. A second consecutive World Cup triumph eventually proved elusive for Mbappe and Les Bleus, but the striker deserves immense credit for lighting a fire under perhaps the greatest final in the competition’s history.
For club side Paris St Germain, Mbappe continued to rack up astonishing numbers to help his team win the 2021/22 Ligue 1 championship. In 46 PSG appearances last season, Mpappe registered 39 goals and 26 assists.
Did you know?
Mbappe is joint-sixth with Pele in the World Cup’s all-time goalscoring chart, having netted 12 times in the tournament.
Messi produced a series of mesmeric performances to lead Argentina to FIFA World Cup 2022 glory. The genius number 10 was Argentina’s talisman in Qatar, scoring seven goals – including a brace in that unforgettable final win over France – and providing three assists during the tournament. His stirring leadership was also frequently cited by team-mates as an integral factor in their success.
Messi’s inspirational influence was underlined when he was awarded the Golden Ball prize for the competition’s best player. Messi, who also won the accolade at Brazil 2014™, became the first player to receive the honour twice. The superstar attacker also overtook German legend Lothar Matthaus as the World Cup’s record appearance holder.
At club level, Messi swiftly settled into life with Paris St Germain after leaving Barcelona in summer 2021. He was a key figure as PSG won the Ligue 1 title in his debut season and has continued to provide regular game-changing contributions for the French side in 2022/23.
Messi’s World Cup triumph defined his year, however, as he lit up the game’s grandest stage and lifted the trophy he coveted above all others.
Did you know?
Messi is the only player to score in the World Cup in his teens, 20s and 30s.
How The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award finalists were determined
From the 14-player shortlist, each voter made their first, second and third choices for the prize.
Points were given to nominees depending on where they were placed (five points for first, three for second and one for third).
Nominated national team captains could not vote for themselves.
Selections from the four voting groups – coaches, captains, journalists, and fans – each counted for 25 per cent of the total vote, irrespective of the number of voters from each group.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award will be presented to the individual with the most points.
If finalists are tied on points, the award will be bestowed on the individual who has received the most first-choice selections.
The voting procedure for The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award is supervised by independent observers. Results will be published in full on FIFA+ following the awards ceremony on 27 February 2023.
- The origianl text resource is from FIFA Official Website