Paris, February 28
World Cup champion Lionel Messi edged Kylian Mbappe again, this time to take FIFA’s best men’s player award. The best women’s player was Spain’s Alexia Putellas for a second straight year. After steering Argentina to World Cup glory in an epic final against Mbappe’s France last year in Qatar, Messi won the best player vote against Mbappe and Karim Benzema and secured the FIFA prize for the seventh time in 14 years on Monday night. He won the World Cup at his record-equalling fifth attempt.
“It was a crazy year for me,” Messi said. “I could fulfil my (World Cup) dream after fighting for it for so long. And in the end it happened, and it was the most beautiful thing of my career. It’s the dream of every player, but very few can achieve it, so I’m thankful to God for being able to do it,” he added.
In the FIFA Awards vote, Messi had 52 points, Mbappe 44 and Benzema 34.
The three players made the final shortlist in voting by a global panel of national team captains and coaches, selected journalists in each of FIFA’s 211 member countries, plus fans online. — AP
Alaba abused, Dalic fumes
Geneva: Real Madrid defender David Alaba was racially abused on social media after voting for Lionel Messi, and Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic accused FIFA of disrespect today in fallout from the football body’s annual awards ceremony. Dalic said he refused to vote in protest at a perceived lack of respect for himself and his team, which eliminated Brazil before losing to Argentina in the World Cup semifinals. “I am disappointed with FIFA’s attitude towards the Croatian national team... we deserve more respect from than we have received,” he said. ap
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