Argentina’s World Cup champions Lionel Messi, Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martínez and Lionel Scaloni won all the major categories at the FIFA The Best awards for men, which were announced yesterday at a ceremony in Paris.
The Argentine fans were also awarded as the best hinchada (fanbase) in the world after the historic turnout of millions of people in streets across the country following the World Cup win.
Lionel Messi beat his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappé and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema in the Men’s Best Player category.
“This year was crazy, I got to fulfill my dream after struggling so much, pursuing so much, trying so much. It’s finally here and it’s the most beautiful thing that ever happened in my career,” he said. “Ending my career this way after so many years is ideal. I have every trophy you can play for. And I enjoyed every moment,” he added before closing his speech thanking his family and telling his children to go to bed, prompting laughs in the audience.
Aston Villa’s Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martinez won the Best Goalkeeper category against Thibaut Courtois and Yassine Bounou, and gave one of the most moving speeches on stage. “When people ask me who my idol was growing up, my model goalkeeper, I say I watched my mom working eight, nine hours cleaning buildings, or my dad working so hard. They are my idols,” he said, almost in tears.
Lionel Scaloni received The Best award in the Men’s Coach category, where he competed with legendary Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Real Madrid’s Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti. Scaloni, who recently renewed his contract to continue as Argentina’s coach, thanked his managing crew –which includes former star players Pablo Aimar, Roberto Ayala, and Walter Samuel– and said there is nothing better than seeing your people happy.
“Seeing all those emotional people on the streets, enjoying themselves, is priceless. The players played for them,” he said, before thanking his family. “I am who I am thanks to them.”