This article was first published on my Medium page.
FIFA has always been a weird organisation. From the really awful activities of Sepp Blatter and co through to the modern day weirdness of last night’s very odd ‘Best FIFA Football Awards’ — which in itself doesn’t make any sense.
Admittedly, I didn’t watch it, I wasn’t interested, I was in the pub. But, it was on in the background, and I looked up to see Mohamed Salah and Luka Modric very awkwardly watching some rapper perform. Then, it became an evening with Idris Elba, with those same two players looking equally uncomfortable.
But the true weirdness comes in the awards that FIFA dished out. And, on a side note, has this weird awards ceremony replaced the Ballon D’Or? And does the Ballon D’Or even count any more? Who knows.
Anyway. Luke Modric was awarded the FIFA Player of the Year. He played pretty well in the World Cup, got Croatia to the World Cup Final and he won the Champions League with Real Madrid, so it’s probably fair enough. And it’s quite nice to not see the top award not just dished out to the bloke who scored the most goals, and not be awarded to Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. A full list of who voted for who, which is pretty interesting, is here.
However, alongside Modric on the shortlist for the World Player of the Year were Ronaldo and Salah. Ronaldo and Modric were then duly named in the World Team of the Year, but there was no place for Salah. Weird. Instead, Ronaldo was flanked by Kylian Mbappe and Eden Hazard, who both had decent World Cup campaigns but didn’t come anywhere near achieving Salah’s feats across the last year. And in behind him was Messi, for no particular reason other than he’s Messi.
Meanwhile, Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was named Goalkeeper of the Year, yet wasn’t named in the World Team of the Year. In his place in the team was David De Gea, who had a great year in terms of personal performances for Manchester United, but had a bit of a horror show in the World Cup. Which makes the FIFA choices for the team even more bizarre.
Then Dani Alves — who wasn’t even at the World Cup — was chosen at right-back. Weird.
And just to top off the weirdness, the award for Best Women’s Coach was given to… a bloke. Reynald Pedros. Who, to be fair, won the league and Champions League with Lyon ins his first season in charge. But is still a man. Weird.
Oh, and finally, something else really weird. Salah was also given Goal of the Season, for a goal against Everton that was so good I can’t even remember it and didn’t even win the BBC Goal of the Season. Weird. How on earth have they done that, considering he was up against Ronaldo’s overhead kick wondergoal and Gareth Bale’s ridiculous overhead kick in the Champions League final?
Weird, weird, weird FIFA weirdos.