12 things we learned at the FIFA Football Awards
The annual FIFA Awards are a hotbed of friendship, jealousy, intrigue, parochialism and outright snubs as 459 international captains, coaches and journalists name their top three players and managers of the year. Marvellously, FIFA publish each voter’s choices, so we can pore over their very public decisions. Read on to find out who plays it politically – and who doesn’t really care what people think...
Ronaldo and Messi: mutually assured obstruction
Lionel Messi didn’t pick Cristiano Ronaldo in his top three players. Ronaldo didn’t pick Messi. CR7 chose Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo; Messi chose Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta and turncoat Neymar. Doesn’t matter, though: CR7 romped to the award, leaving Messi and Neymar far behind in second and third.
Neuer prefers neither
Of the 459 voters, 433 chose either Ronaldo, Messi or both in their top top threes. Among the 26 not to name either were: Ronaldo and Messi, because they can’t vote for themselves and won’t vote for each other; Germany skipper Manuel Neuer and coach Jogi Low; and Wales boss Chris Coleman. Former centre-back Coleman chose Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos as the world’s best player.
Although he got the lowest points percentage of any of the 24 nominated players, Harry Kane did get one top-placed vote, from Vanuatu journalist Raymond Nase. (Nase had Cristiano Ronaldo second and Neymar third.) Kane got third-placed props from Hugo Lloris, plus the British Virgin Islands captain, the Bahamas coach and Chris Coleman; the Montserrat captain and Cambodian journalist voted him second.
The guarding of Eden
Chelsea's Eden Hazard got one top-placed vote: from former Wigan and Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who just happens to now be in charge of Belgium (the team, not the country).
As Belgium captain, Eden Hazard gave his No.1 vote to Chelsea team-mate N’Golo Kante, which is sweet of him. His other player votes went to CR7 and Luka Modric, not that he’s planning a move to Real Madrid.
It’s a Madrid thing
Atletico Madrid defensive stalwart Diego Godin didn’t vote for Real Madrid icon Cristiano Ronaldo, plumping instead for Luis Suarez and Leo Messi sandwiching Atletico team-mate Antoine Griezmann.
ZZ top, but not with everyone
Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane walked the manager poll with 46.22%, well clear of Chelsea’s Antonio Conte (11.62%) and Juventus gaffer Massimiliano Allegri (8.78%). Among the players not to vote for Zidane anywhere in their top three: the captains of Andorra, Aruba, Barbados, the Cook Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Nepal, St Lucia and Tanzania – plus Diego Godin, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer.
How to win friends and influence people
Eden Hazard voted current manager Antonio Conte top and previous manager Jose Mourinho in third; in between, he went for Zidane, which is in no way to say he’d like the Frenchman to be his next manager.
Honesty: the best policy?
Not all players were doggedly diplomatic. Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan didn’t name Jose Mourinho in his top three, plumping instead for Zidane, Allegri and Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim.
Mourinho was voted top manager by nine people: four international captains, four international managers and journalist Duncan Castles.
Premier League? Not really...
Of his six votes across player and coach, Gareth Southgate didn’t name any Englishmen and only one Premier League employee. His managerial trio was Zidane, Conte and Allegri; his players were Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos – all of Real Madrid.
Poch’s participation pin
Like his star man Harry Kane, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino got the lowest vote percentage in his category. But at least he was nominated, and he got three gold votes: from the Andorra captain and the managers of Mexico and Belarus.
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