Football is turning its eye to the city of fashion tonight with Milan styling itself to welcome the best football players for the gala event of The Best FIFA Football Awards. Ever since the divorce between the French Football Association and FIFA over the voting rights for the Ballon d’Or, football’s governing body has reinstated their original award; The Best FIFA Football Award.
The rules dictate that three players should be nominated every year after which the voting opens to team captains, head coaches and revered journalists to elect The Best FIFA Football Award in the men’s category of their choice for the concerned year. The nominees for this year are Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentine magician Lionel Messi and Dutch defensive giant Virgil Van Dijk.
As the countdown for the ceremony begins, let us run a mini analysis to find out who should win The Best FIFA Football Awards for Men.
As far as stories go, the little Argentine was always a legend in the making. Diagnosed with a rare growth hormone disease, Messi was given little chance of running let alone playing football. However, Barcelona spotted the genius in him at an early age and paid in full for the treatment of the player and post his treatment moved him to Catalonia, making history in the process.
Messi was always one step ahead in every training session and those who saw the young winger knew they had come across an anomaly. It did not take him too long to leave his mark on world football as Messi went on win The Best FIFA Football Award three times by the age of 23.
Almost a decade later, Lionel is still in the running as he has been for the last 15 years. He had a wonderful year with Barcelona as he hit the 50 goal mark yet again last year and helped the La Liga giants to another league title. The magician has shown no signs of slowing down as he continues to dance past defenders with apparent ease and makes the beautiful game look like a Russian Ballet in full throttle. He would be a deserving winner of The Best FIFA Football Award and the first player ever to bag the trophy a record sixth time.
If you know Messi, you have heard of Ronaldo. Had the Argentine been born in any other generation, he would have had 10 The Best FIFA Football Awards by now but unfortunately for Messi, he shares his footballing career spell with a certain Portuguese machine. While Messi is the story of magic, in reality, Ronaldo is the lesson of inspiration for every struggling soul on the planet.
Born into a poor family in a Portuguese favela, Ronaldo’s father was a kit man for a second division football club in the Iberian country. A passion to succeed no matter it took and a belief to break norms and be the exception were the only riches Ronaldo could afford. He made good on his promise to his hard-working mother to make football his life and broke through the ranks in Portugal quickly.
While the talent was in abundance, what was more prominent was the aspiration to practice and the belief he was better than the rest. Ronaldo was handpicked by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson to play for Manchester United and he will go down in history as one of the greatest Red Devils ever to dawn the club’s jersey. Not content with his success in one country, Ronaldo moved leagues and made a world-record move to the greatest club of all-time; Real Madrid.
A decade later, the result was there for everyone to see as he left the club as their greatest footballer ever, not to mention most successful as well. He remains to this day Real Madrid’s highest scorer and the Galacticos still miss him. At the age of 33, while others ponder retirement, the machine that is Ronaldo has challenged himself to join one of the toughest leagues in Italy and come out with flying colours in his debut season. The goal machine was the highest scorer in Italy last year and it has naturally earned him a nomination for The Best FIFA Football Award for the Men’s category.
On a side note, let us not forget, he too stands on five The Best FIFA Football Award just like his nemesis Messi and can win it a record sixth time tonight.
It is not easy to be the third name in a list which has Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in it. However, the fact that Van Dijk stands here tonight is a testament to the fact the year he has had. The Dutch defender has come of age in the last few years and taken football by the scruff of its neck.
In the modern-day game, with softer rules and better technical support, it is far easier to be an attacker than a defender. The evidence lies in the list for the winners of the last 20 The Best FIFA Football Awards where only one defender has won it while 19 attackers have bagged the trophy. Hence for Van Dijk to have even made it to the top three is proof of what he has done on the pitch.
The towering defender signed for Liverpool a couple of seasons ago and within 18 months has turned the shaky defence in Anfield into a mountain to break through at the back. He was instrumental in their Champions League win last season and securing the much-coveted European trophy has put him on The Best FIFA Football Award list.
He went 65 matches without being dribbled past but his most important test comes tonight as he will have to stop the legendary duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi from running past him with The Best FIFA Football Award.
Football fans will have their opinions and that is what makes this entertaining game a subject of constant debate and deliberation. Assessing from a neutral’s point of view, both Van Dijk and Ronaldo have a distinct advantage in The Best FIFA Football Award for winning multiple silverware but The Best FIFA Football Award is an individual award and Messi in terms of numbers has outdone these geniuses this year. It would be a deserving victory no matter who bags The Best FIFA Football Award and unfortunate for the two runner ups but football has taught us that victories and defeats are not as important as enjoying the ninety minutes on the pitch. We wish these three footballers good luck for The Best FIFA Football Award!
SEE MORE: The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 Nominees