FIFA awards: Lionel Messi, Alexia Putellas crowned Best players at awards ceremony in Paris
Paris, France: World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi took home the award for the Best International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Men's Player following Argentina's historic World Cup 2022 triumph, at The Best FIFA Football Awards 2022 held in Paris on Monday, February 27.
The talismanic striker beat France's Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema to clinch the laurel. The Argentine star scored seven goals in the side's World Cup triumph, missing out on the golden boot by just one goal. This was the PSG star's second FIFA Best title, his first coming in 2019. Messi has also won a record seven Ballon d'Or awards.
"It's amazing. It was a tremendous year and it is an honour for me to be here tonight and win this award. I want to express my thanks to [coach Lionel] Scaloni and my teammates; without them, I would not be here. I achieved a dream I had been hoping for so long and finally, I achieved it. It's a dream for any player; very few people can achieve that and I was lucky enough to do so," said Messi as quoted by ESPN.
FC Barcelona Femeni's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas was recognised as the Best FIFA Women's Player for the second time in a row after a successful year which saw her club win a third successive league title.
Mary Earps was voted the Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper after a year in which she lifted the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 with the Lionesses.
Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez got his hands on the Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper prize following his outstanding performances throughout FIFA World Cup 2022.
The English national team's manager Sarina Wiegman won the Best FIFA Women's Coach after leading the Lionesses to European glory and her second successive UEFA EURO title, while Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni added the Best FIFA Men's Coach to his trophy cabinet, alongside the FIFA World Cup trophy.
The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony also recognised the standout goal of the year as Marcin Oleksy won the FIFA Puskas Award for his impressive finish.
Georgian player Luka Lochoshvili picked up the FIFA Fair Play Award in recognition of his exemplary reaction whilst playing for Wolfsberger AC when an opposing player fell unconscious on the pitch and Luka rushed to his aid.
In addition, Argentinian fans were recognised for their support of the national team during the FIFA World Cup 2022, which saw impressive numbers travel to Qatar and millions of fans then welcomed their winning heroes home to Buenos Aires and across the country.
The winners of the Best player, goalkeeper and coach awards were determined through a voting process in which four groups had an equal say: football fans, selected media representatives and the captains and head coaches of national teams from around the globe.