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The Best FIFA awards: Messi beats Haaland to men's honor, Bonmati wins

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World football’s top players and managers of 2023 were recognized at The Best FIFA Football Awards show on Monday. Below, theScore runs down the winners of the various trophies.

Best Men’s Player

Lionel Messi (Inter Miami and Argentina)

This was a shock. Although Messi’s brilliance is undeniable, the fact that this award only considered players’ exploits from Dec. 19, 2022 – the day after the men’s World Cup final – to Aug. 20, 2023, made Erling Haaland a strong favorite to collect this gong. Haaland racked up an absurd 52 goals in that period as he obliterated numerous scoring records in his debut season with Manchester City. He helped his club win the Champions League, Premier League, and the FA Cup for the second treble in English football history and hoisted the UEFA Super Cup in August. Messi, meanwhile, won Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain and the Leagues Cup with Inter Miami shortly after his high-profile move to Major League Soccer.

Beaten finalists: Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe

Best Women’s Player

Joe Maher – FIFA / FIFA / Getty

Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona and Spain)

Bonmati is the dominant force in women’s soccer. Through this honor’s qualifying period of Aug. 1, 2022, to Aug. 20, 2023, the elegant midfielder bewitched viewers with her intelligence and vision while winning the Champions League, Spain’s top tier, and the Spanish Super Cup with Barcelona. She then starred in Spain’s victorious Women’s World Cup campaign, registering three goals, two assists, and continually progressing play with wise passes and confident runs. Over the past five months, Bonmati has also collected the Ballon d’Or Feminin and the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year award.

Beaten finalists: Linda Caicedo, Jennifer Hermoso

Puskas Award

Guilherme Madruga vs. Novorizontino

Botafogo’s Madruga suddenly burst into the spotlight with a phenomenal effort against Novorizontino in the Brazilian second division in June 2023. The overhead kick is reminiscent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s strike for Sweden against England in 2012.

Beaten finalists: Julio Enciso vs. Manchester City, Nuno Santos vs. Boavista

Best Men’s Coach

Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)

This was never really up for debate. Guardiola’s tactical ingenuity came to the fore over the 2022-23 campaign. He shook up his approach to accommodate an out-and-out striker in Haaland, encouraged defenders to cavort into midfield, and sometimes ditched full-backs entirely. The result was silverware for Manchester City in the Champions League, Premier League, and the FA Cup. Former City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan said last summer that he “didn’t know anything about football” before working for Guardiola. Gundogan was 25 when he joined Guardiola at City.

Beaten finalists: Simone Inzaghi, Luciano Spalletti

Best Women’s Coach

Kate Green / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Sarina Wiegman (England)

Wiegman already held the record for the most coach awards (female or male) at FIFA ceremonies and extended it with her fourth prize. She fought off some strong competition this year after continuing to impress at the England helm. The Lionesses reached the 2023 Women’s World Cup final, further underlining their huge progress since she inherited the team from Phil Neville. Wiegman previously won in 2017 (when she was in charge of the Netherlands women’s national team) and 2020.

Beaten finalists: Jonatan Giraldez, Emma Hayes

Best Men’s Goalkeeper

Ederson (Manchester City and Brazil)

Despite missing out on a place in the Men’s FIFA FIFPro World11, Ederson was named the world’s top player between the sticks. The Brazilian’s slick footwork and excellent shot-stopping were crucial at the base of an all-conquering Manchester City lineup.

Beaten finalists: Yassine Bounou, Thibaut Courtois

Best Women’s Goalkeeper

Mary Earps (Manchester United and England)

Earps is a back-to-back winner of the goalkeeper award following an incredible 12-month spell for club and country. She won the Women’s Super League Golden Glove as Manchester United finished second in England’s top tier and was a beaten finalist in the Women’s FA Cup final. The 30-year-old also won another Golden Glove during England’s run to the Women’s World Cup final. Earps represented eight different clubs before joining Manchester United in 2019. “I talk a lot, obviously, about how it hasn’t been an easy journey. Some would say I took the scenic route,” Earps quipped.

Beaten finalists: Mackenzie Arnold, Catalina Coll

Men’s FIFA FIFPro World11

Thibaut Courtois; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias; Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Jude Bellingham; Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Vinicius Junior

Women’s FIFA FIFPro World11

Mary Earps; Olga Carmona, Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood; Keira Walsh, Alessia Russo, Lauren James, Ella Toone, Aitana Bonmati; Alex Morgan, Sam Kerr


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