West News Wire: Lionel Messi, the World Cup champion’s captain from Argentina, was awarded FIFA’s male player of the year, while Alexia Putellas, the Ballon d’Or winner from Spain last year, was named FIFA’s female player of the year.
Argentina won the World Cup 2022 final on penalties after Messi, 35, scored twice against France.
It’s incredible. It was a fantastic year, and it’s an honor for me to be here today and earn this award,” said Messi on Monday, who sat next to Kylian Mbappe, a striker for France and a teammate of his at Paris Saint-Germain.
Mbappe, also nominated for the highly anticipated award of the night, scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final. Still, his achievement was overshadowed as Messi finally won the most coveted trophy in world football.
“I want to express my thanks to [coach Lionel] Scaloni and my teammates. Without them, I would not be here,” Messi said at the Best FIFA Football Awards in Paris.
“I achieved a dream I had been hoping for so long, and finally, I achieved it. It’s a dream for any player, very few people can achieve that, and I was lucky enough to do so.”
Messi’s compatriots Scaloni and Emiliano Martinez won the coach of the year and keeper of the year awards, respectively, and their supporters even got the best fans’ prize.
England were rewarded for their victorious women’s Euro 2022 campaign.
Mary Earps was named keeper of the year, and England’s Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman received the accolade for best coach of a team with four players in the year’s World XI – Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Leah Williamson and Keira Walsh.
Polish amputee Marcin Oleksy won the Puskas prize for the best goal of the year for a spectacular acrobatic volley with Warta Poznan against Stal Rzeszow.