Soccer’s world governing body FIFA held its “The Best FIFA Football Awards” ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland on Monday.
They renamed this event, previously simply known as the FIFA Awards Gala, in honor of its voting rule changes and added awards.
All the prices (with one obvious exception), were based on performances in 2016 .
The first prizes handed out went to the players in what is known as the FIFPro World eleven, honoring the best players in the world by position, as voted on by their peers.
They are as follows: Manuel Neuer, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo.
What stands out here is the fact that Bayern Munich goalkeeper Neuer and Juventus defender Alves are the only featured players not currently playing for either Real Madrid or Barcelona, while Dani Alves has had a long past with the Catalan club.
The Best Fan Award went jointly to the supporters of Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.
In the second leg of the clubs’ Europa League quarterfinal meeting last season, groups of fans from both teams sang their mutual fan anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” together, in honor of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. (An anniversary of that tragedy was coming up.)
Next, the Women’s Coach of Year award went to Germany’s former women’s national team coach Silvia Neid. She stepped down from that post, after guiding her team to Olympic gold in Rio last summer.
The Fair Play Award went to Columbian club team Atletico Nacional, which refused to accept the Copa Sudamericana title, (the second most prestigious one on that continent), after a plane crash had killed most of their opponents’ team in the planned final round which the latter, (Brazilian team Chapecoense) then obviously would have had to forfeit.
But Atletico Nacional officials convinced the South American Confederation to award the title to Chapecoense.
The Men’s Coach of the Year Award went to Leicester City coach Claudio Ranieri, after he lead his team to its fairy tale run to the English Premier League title.
In a nice move by FIFA, they gave the Lifetime Achievement Award to 39-year old Futsal legend Falcao from Brazil. Futsal is the official form of indoor soccer, as established by FIFA and they finally recognized the great athletes of that sport, by awarding this prize to arguably its best player ever.
The Puskas Award(given to the scorer of the goal of the year ,as decided entirely by fans) went to Mohd Faiz Subri from Malaysia.
Finally, the two biggest prizes, Best Men’s and Best Women’s Player went to Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Portugal as well as Carly Lloyd of the Houston Dash and the USA respectively.
Fans registered at the website fifa.com, were for the first time able to vote for the best coaches and players of each gender. The success of the event has proven that more democracy is always better, especially at an institution like FIFA.