FIFA presented its “The Best” awards for 2018 Monday in London, giving the spotlight to the best of the best in the sport over the past year. Knowing that 2018 was a year for the World Cup, the tournament held in Russia played a huge part into the male winners. Nevertheless, Real Madrid’s third consecutive Champions League title factored heavily into the voting, especially for the FIFPro WORLD XI.
Here are the winners for each award, together with the finalists:
Best Men’s Player
Luka Modric becomes the first non-Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo winner of the award since 2007, when Kaka won the award. The Croatian had to overcome the best of the best to end that reign, and he surely delivered it for both his club and country, helping Real Madrid achieve a third straight Champions League title and captaining Croatia all the way to its first World Cup final. In addition to the Best Men’s Player award he received, the midfielder won the Golden Ball honors in Russia for his spectacular performance.
Other finalists of the Best Men’s player award features two regulars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, along with Egypt and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.
Best Coach (Men’s)
Dider Deschamps wins the award for commanding France to its second World Cup title, 20 years after he led Les Bleus to their first.
The Best Coach award also saw finalists Zlatko Dalic of the Croatia international football team and Zinedine Zidane for his coaching efforts with Real Madrid.
Moreover, overshadowed by the finalists were Pep Guardiola, who orchestrated the most dominant season in Premier League history with Manchester City; Jurgen Klopp, who guided Liverpool to the Champions League final; and Max Allegri, who coached Juventus to a seventh consecutive Serie A title.
Mohamed Salah’s effort for his club Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby was an impressive display of individual talent. This also led him to his first Puskas award. However, the results of the voting surprised many, even though it was open to the unpredictability of fan votes. Many would say that Salah’s goal was underwhelming compared to the other finalists:
- Gareth Bale vs Liverpool – Champions league final
- Cristiano Ronaldo vs Juventus – Champions League quarterfinals
- Lionel Messi vs Nigeria – World Cup group stage
- Benjamin Pavard vs Argentina – World Cup round of 16
- Lazaros Christodoulopoulos vs Olympiakos – Greek Superleague
- Denis Cheryshev vs. Croatia – World Cup quarterfinals
- Riley McGree vs Melbourne City – Australian A League
- Giorgian De Arrascaeta vs Atletico Mineiro – Campeonato Mineiro
- Ricardo Quaresma vs Iran – World Cup group stage