Messi wins Best FIFA men’s player award

Argentina and Paris St-Germain forward Lionel Messi has been named the men’s player of the year at the 2022 FIFA Best Awards.

The 35-year-old beat French strikers Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema for the award.

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Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar and scored 27 goals in 49 games for club and country in 2021-22.

Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas was named women’s player of the year.

Messi, who won the award for a second time, said: “It’s amazing. It’s been a tremendous year and it’s an honour for me to be here and win this award. Without my team-mates I wouldn’t be here.

“I achieved the dream I had been hoping for for so long. Very few people can achieve that and I have been lucky to do so.”

At the ceremony in Paris, Lionel Scaloni, who led Argentina to their third World Cup title, was named men’s coach of the year.

Scaloni beat Pep Guardiola – who guided Manchester City to a sixth Premier League title – and Real Madrid’s Champions League-winning boss Carlo Ancelotti to the honour.

England manager Sarina Wiegman was named women’s coach of the year after leading the Lionesses to European Championship glory on home soil last year, the team’s first major trophy.

Aston Villa and Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez was recognised as the best men’s goalkeeper, while England’s Mary Earps won the women’s award.

Martinez, 30, helped his country win the World Cup, saving four penalties along the way, including in the penalty shootout against France in the final.

Earps, who plays for Manchester United in the Women’s Super League, started all six of England’s Euro 2022 games as they won the tournament.

Amputee footballer Marcin Oleksy of Poland’s Warta Poznan has won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of the year. He sent a spectacular aerial volley against Stal Rzeszow using his crutches to fly into the back of the net.

Recipient of the fair play award was Luka Lochoshvili, who held the tongue of his opponent, Georg Teigl, to save his life after the midfielder had fallen unconscious.

FIFPRO men’s world XI: Thibaut Courtois; Achraf Hakimi, Virgil van Dijk, Joao Cancelo; Kevin De Bruyne, Luka Modric, Casemiro; Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland, Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe.

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