The Best FIFA Awards 2023 Highlights


The Best FIFA Football Awards unfolded in London, crowning Lionel Messi and Aitana Bonmatí as The Best FIFA Men’s and Women’s Players, with Pep Guardiola and Sarina Wiegman named Best FIFA Coaches. Manchester City’s Éderson and Manchester United’s Mary Earps claimed The Best FIFA Goalkeeper awards. Guilherme Madruga won the Puskas Award, and Brazil legend Marta received The Best FIFA Special Award for her outstanding career.

Messi’s Narrow Victory Over Haaland

The highlight of the awards night was Lionel Messi narrowly clinching The Best FIFA Men’s Player award, leaving Erling Haaland as the runner-up after a tiebreaker scenario. Both players secured 48 points in the vote, conducted by national team coaches, captains, selected journalists, and fans on FIFA’s website. With the votes tied, Messi secured more first-place nominations from the men’s national team captains, resulting in the slimmest winning margin since the award’s inception in 2016.

FIFA’s transparency effort revealed the detailed list of votes, showcasing intriguing choices. Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Federico Valverde, captains of Croatia and Uruguay, voted for Barcelona’s Messi, setting aside El Clasico rivalries. Brazil captain Casemiro, despite being Haaland’s cross-town rival at Manchester United, voted for the Norwegian striker.

In a surprising twist, England men’s coach Gareth Southgate excluded Messi from his top three, while Portugal captain Pepê omitted the former Barcelona star entirely. Messi, on the other hand, voted for Haaland as his first choice, followed by Kylian Mbappé and Argentina’s Julián Álvarez.

Guardiola’s Unscripted ‘F’ Bomb

Pep Guardiola added a candid moment to the gala, responding to Thierry Henry’s question about choosing between his iconic Barcelona team of 2009 and his 2023 treble-winning Manchester City squad. Caught off guard, Guardiola dropped an unscripted expletive, showcasing the pressure of making such a choice.

Henry’s Spurs Banter

With Messi absent from the ceremony, Thierry Henry, co-hosting with Reshmin Chowdhury, took the opportunity to playfully jab at Chowdhury’s allegiance to Arsenal’s local rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. Henry jokingly claimed Messi’s award for himself, citing his lack of personal wins, and then turned to Chowdhury, saying, “And you are a Tottenham fan, right? You usually don’t get your hands on a trophy, so I’ll take this one. Thank you very much.”

In summary, The Best FIFA Awards for 2023 provided a night of excitement, controversy, and banter. Messi’s razor-thin victory over Haaland, Guardiola’s unfiltered moment, and Henry’s light-hearted Spurs dig added memorable elements to the prestigious event. The detailed breakdown of votes offered a glimpse into the diverse opinions within the football community, making this edition of The Best FIFA Football Awards one to remember.

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By- Sahiba Suri

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