Individual awards are becoming an increasingly prominent part of modern football, something that was originally started by the Ballon d’Or. It has been furthered in recent years by the creation of the FIFA Best Awards.
For players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, individual awards have become another way to measure them against each other in a way that is not related to how many club trophies they have won.
The next edition of the award will be held on February 27 in Paris and the shortlist of players to win the award can be seen below.
Which one of them has won it the most, though?
The FIFA Best Awards started back in 2016 and while the Best FIFA Men’s Player may be the headline maker of all the awards, there are plenty of others. There is a Best Men’s Goalkeeper award, Best Men’s Coach, the FIFPro Men’s World 11, and then the exact same awards for women’s football.
As well as that, there is the mixed fair play award which goes out to a team or an individual for a piece of fair play during the year. There is the Puskas Award for the best goal, the FIFA Fan Award and the Special Award for an Outstanding Career Achievement.
Many feel that the long and tiresome debate around whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi was the better player came to an end when Messi lifted the World Cup with Argentina and Ronaldo signed for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia.
That being said, it’s Ronaldo who is leading the way when it comes to the FIFA Best Awards. He has won the Best Men’s Player award on two occasions; 2016 and 2017. For Lionel Messi, he has only managed to win the award in 2019. He has been the runner-up three times, while Ronaldo has been runner-up twice.
Robert Lewandowski has actually won the award twice as well and the other winner was Luka Modric. Liverpool duo Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah have been in the top three before, as have Neymar and Antoine Griezmann.
It seems highly unlikely now that Ronaldo is going to win the award again but it is very possible that Messi will win the 2022 edition and would be in the running for 2023 if he stays at Paris Saint-Germain and maintains his performance level.
Interestingly, the goalkeeping award was not handed out in 2016 but since 2017, five different goalkeepers have won the award. It started with Gianluigi Buffon, who was followed by Thibaut Courtois, Alisson, Manuel Neuer, and Edouard Mendy.
It can’t be ruled out that another different goalkeeper will win the award in 2022 with players like Ederson and Hugo Lloris having never won it.