By. Mihir Kore
As 2021 has come to a close, there was one final award ceremony which we football fans were still waiting for - The annual FIFA Best Awards. These awards are given to the best individuals related to the footballing world from the previous year. The awards are not only given to just players but also special awards are given to the coaches, fans and also teams for their contribution to the beautiful game. This year there were also two new special awards given to two brilliant individuals for their handwork and performances on the international stage.
Women’s Special Award - Christine Sinclair
The first of two new awards was given to Christine Sinclair (Canada/Portland Thorns FC ) for her record-breaking performances on the international stage for Canada. Sinclair received the award after she scored her 188th goal for the Canada Women's National Soccer Team in only 308 appearances. For her brilliance, she was awarded this new and prestigious award.
The Best Women’s Goalkeeper Award - Christiane Endler
The Best Women’s Goalkeeper Award was given to the 30-year-old Chile and Lyon goalkeeper Christiane Endler. Endler’s 2020-21 season was exceptional as she conceded 4 goals for PSG in a run that would bring them the title and end Lyon’s 14-year championship run in Division 1 Feminine. She won the award ahead of nominees Stephanie Labbé (Canada and Paris Saint-Germain) and Ann-Katrin Banger (Chelsea FC) who too had both exceptional seasons.
The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper - Édouard Mendy
After losing out on the Yashin Award, it was Chelsea goalkeeper Édouard Mendy who won the goalkeeping trophy in this year’s The Best ceremony. The Senegal international finally got his award after having a fantastic season, winning the Champions League and the UEFA Supercup as well as being crowned the best goalkeeper in the UEFA Champions League for that campaign. In doing so he became the first African player to achieve the accolade.
FIFA Puskas Award - Eric Lamela
This award is given to the best goal scored throughout any league in all of last season. This year's winner is Eric Lamela (Sevilla/Argentina) after scoring a beautiful rabona goal in the North London Derby, against rivals Arsenal FC.
FIFA Fair Play Award - Denmark National Team and Medical Staff
This year’s FIFA Fair Play Award was given to a team that had excellent ethics and sportsmanship and this time it was the Denmark National team and their medical staff. This was a result of the unfortunate incident at Euro 2020 where Danish and former Inter Milan player Christian Eriksen had a cardiac arrest during their match against Finland. With their extremely fast and properly procedural efforts, Eriksen’s life was saved in a moment that all football fans never wish to witness, very well deserved.
The Best FIFA Women's Coach - Emma Hayes
This year the winner for the Best FIFA Women's Coach was Emma Hayes for her work with Chelsea FC, winning the FA Women’s Super League in the 20-21 season and bringing them to their fourth title.
The Best FIFA Men's Coach - Thomas Tuchel
The best FIFA Men’s Coach was none other than Thomas Tuchel, manager of Chelsea FC. He achieved an incredible feat by becoming the manager of Chelsea mid-season and helping them win their second Champions League title defeating favourites (and league rivals) Manchester City in a 1-0 Final in Porto.
The Best FIFA Fan Award - Denmark and Finland Fans
This year the Best FIFA Fan Award went to Denmark and Finland fans, who were chanting Christian Eriksen’s name during their game where he suffered a cardiac arrest and paid tribute to the player in a beautiful way at the Euro 2020.
2021 Women’s FIFA FIFPRO World 11 Team
Goalkeeper: Christiane Endler (Paris Saint-Germain/Olympique Lyonnais)
Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea FC Women), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City WFC), Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea FC Women) and Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnais)
Midfielders: Estefanía Banini (Levante UD/Atlético de Madrid Femenino), Barbara Bonansea (Juventus FC Women) and Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
Forwards: Marta (Orlando Pride), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal WFC) and Alex Morgan (Tottenham Hotspur FC Women/Orlando Pride/San Diego Wave FC)
The Best Women's Player of the Year - Alexia Putellas
The winner of this award was none other than the 2021 Women's Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas who had an incredible season being the top scorer for FC Barcelona women's team and winning the treble in doing so. She was unstoppable this year and hence undoubtedly claimed the award.
2021 Men’s FIFA FIFPRO World 11 Team
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain)
Defenders: David Alaba (FC Bayern München/Real Madrid CF), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus FC) and Rúben Dias (Manchester City FC)
Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City FC), Jorginho (Chelsea FC) and N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea FC)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus FC/Manchester United FC), Erling Haaland (Borussia 09 Dortmund), Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern München) and Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain)
The Best Men’s Player of the Year - Robert Lewandowski
We were then followed up by the FIFA Best Men’s Player of the Year and it was the one and only Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern München). Having come runners up in the Ballon d’Or against nominee Lionel Messi (Argentina/Paris Saint-Germain), the Polish international won his second consecutive FIFA Best Men's Player of the Year beating Lionel Messi and Mohammed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool). After having such an incredible year and scoring his 300th Bundesliga goal, the forward was the winner and was given this award.
Men's Special Award - Cristiano Ronaldo
To close the ceremony we saw the second special award is given to one of the best players of this generation, Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Manchester United). He was awarded this for being the top men’s international goalscorer of all time as he set a record of 115 goals scored in 184 appearances for Portugal. Achieving this at the age of 36 and still going is incredible and shows us that he’s not finished just yet.
Another year and another amazing ceremony concluded, this year we saw many new faces but the old ones never change. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo once again were in the FIFPRO World 11 as they have been now for more than a decade but the highlight of this ceremony was Robert Lewandowski taking the Men’s award home. Will he win the 2022 Ballon d’Or?