Messi, Álvarez, Scaloni, Dibu Martínez and Argentina “hinchada” nominated for FIFA’s The Best

Several of the world champion team were included in the shortlist for FIFA’s annual awards. Voting is open until February 3

World Cup champions Lionel Messi, Julián Alvarez, Emiliano “Dibu” Martinez and coach Lionel Scaloni are among the nominees for The Best FIFA Football Awards, which honor the most outstanding members of the world’s most popular sport each year. The 2021/2022 nomination period was extended this year to include the players’ World Cup performances.

The organization announced on Friday the shortlists for the categories Men’s Player, Women’s Player, Men’s Coach, Women’s Coach, Men’s Goalkeeper, Women’s Goalkeeper, the Puskás Award and the Fan Award, where the Argentine hinchada (fanbase) was also nominated. 

Lionel Messi, seven-time winner of the FIFA Golden Ball and the first man to ever win that honor twice at the FIFA World Cup, is nominated in the Best Men’s Player category alongside fellow Argentine and Manchester City player Julián Alvarez, who scored four goals in Qatar 2023. The shortlist of 14 players includes Karim Benzema, Neymar, Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappé and latest winner, Robert Lewandowski.

Winner of the Golden Glove in Qatar, Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano “Dibu” Martinez’s performance in the Argentine squad at the penalty kicks against the Netherlands, and his breathtaking save in the last minute against France, were essential for Argentina’s path to the finals and the World Cup championship. He shares the Best Men’s Goalkeeper shortlist with Álisson Becker, Yassine Bounou, Thibaut Courtois, and Ederson.

Lionel Scaloni, who has managed to build a solid and very popular national team since taking over the job as a relatively unknown –and unpromising– young coach in 2018, managed to keep a record of 36 undefeated matches and won both the America Cup and Argentina’s third World Cup. He shares the nomination with Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid CF), Didier Deschamps (French National Team), Pep Guardiola (Manchester City FC), and Walid Regragui (Wydad AC and Moroccan National Team).

In the Puskás Award, which honors the best goal of the season, Argentina’s entry in the shortlist is Francisco González Metilli’s goal in the Club Atlético Central Córdoba v. Club Atlético Rosario Central match, played on August 1, 2022.

Argentine fans were nominated for the Best FIFA Fan award for drawing impressive numbers in Qatar and providing “incredible support for their team’s ultimately victorious FIFA World Cup campaign”. FIFA also acknowledged the millions of fans who “welcomed their heroes home to Buenos Aires and across the country.” The category also includes Japanese national team fans, who “earned worldwide recognition for their tradition of staying behind to help clean the stadium after World Cup games”, and Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al Salmi, who “journeyed by foot from his hometown of Jeddah to Qatar, hiking across the Saudi Arabian desert, to support his national team at the FIFA World Cup.”

FIFA will announce the three finalists in each of the seven categories in early February 2023, and the awards ceremony will take place on February 27.

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