Marta has been named as the FIFA women’s player of the year for the sixth time, a remarkable achievement considering she hasn’t won the award since 2010. Marta, who currently plays for Orlando Pride, finished second in the NWSL for both goals and assists and was voted MVP by her teammates. Marta was up against two Olympique Lyonnais players in Ada Hegerberg and Dzsenifer Marozsan, whose team enjoyed yet another successful season winning their domestic title, the Champions League and finishing runners up in the Coupe de France. England’s Lucy Bronze was one of six Lyon players to feature in the top ten.
Surprisingly it wasn’t Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi picking up the men’s prize, but Luka Modric who took home the men’s player of the year award. Modric enjoyed another great domestic season, winning the Champion’s League with Real Madrid before leading Croatia to the World Cup final. Modric was also named Best Player of the Tournament at the World Cup.
This is the first time since Kaka’s win in 2007 that Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi hasn’t taken home the prize. It also marks the first time that Messi hasn’t been in the top three since 2006. Ronaldo kept up appearances with his fifth second place finish, whilst Mohamed Salah was rewarded with third place after his remarkable debut season for Liverpool. The top five were completed by PSG wunderkind Kylian Mbappe in fourth and Lionel Messi in fifth. Harry Kane was the only English entry in the top 10, finishing tenth with less than 1% of the vote.
Elsewhere, the Premier League still had reason to celebrate. Thibaut Courtois was named goalkeeper of the year after an outstanding season for Chelsea and an impressive World Cup campaign with Belgium. Courtois’s efforts saw him complete a transfer to Real Madrid over the summer as a result. Mohamed Salah also added the Puskas Award for best goal to his third place. The goal was scored in the Merseyside derby last December.
However, Salah and Courtois will probably feel a bit hard done by having been snubbed for the FIFA World 11. Courtois was beaten by Manchester United keeper David de Gea to the spot whilst Ronaldo, Messi and Mbappe claimed the attacking positions despite the latter two finishing below Salah in the top ten. The World 11 saw a minor shift away from the usual Real Madrid/Barcelona domination. 2017’s team featured eight players from the two Spanish teams, whereas the 2018 team dropped to just six players.
The men’s coach of the year award was given to Didier Deschamps after winning the World Cup with France, becoming only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a manager in the process. The women’s coach of the year award was unsurprisingly given to Lyon’s Reynald Pedros after another terrific season. The fair play prize was awarded to German forward Lennart Thy, who missed an Eredivisie game for VVV-Venlo to donate blood to a patient in urgent need of matching stem cells for Leukaemia treatment. This type of donation normally takes 4-6 hours to complete.