By Mac Izu Nelson
Last night, the refreshed FIFA ‘The Best’ awards took place in Zurich.
Christiano Ronaldo won the best player in the world award beating rivals Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmannn to the accolade.
Here is a full list of the winners.
1. The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award (Nominees: Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi)
Winner- Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/ Real Madrid)
2. The Best FIFA Women’s Player Award (Nominees: Melanie Behringer, Carli Lloyd and Marta)
Winner- Carli Llyod (USA)
3.The Best FIFA Men’s Coach Award (Nominees: Claudio Ranieri, Fernando Santos and Zinedine Zidane)
Winner- Claudio Ranieri (Leicester City)
4. The Best FIFA Women’s Coach Award (Nominees: Jill Ellis, Silvia Neid and Pia Sundhage)
Winner- Silvia Neid
5. The FIFA Puskás Award 2016 (Nominees: Marlone, Daniuska Rodriguez and Mohd Faiz Subri)
Winner- Mohd Faiz Subri
6. The FIFA Fair Play Award
Winner- Atletico Nacional
7. The FIFA Fan Award (Nominees: ADO Den Haag supporters, Borussia Dortmund-Liverpool supporters and Iceland supporters)
Winner- Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool supporters
8. Outstanding Career Award
Winner – Falcao.
Speaking after receiving the award, Christiano had this to say,
“It’s a great feeling, as I mentioned many times last year was a dream year, no doubt about that,” the striker said at the ceremony shortly before receiving the prize.
“Real Madrid win the Champions League and the national team won the Euros for the first time in history. Unbelievable season. I’m so proud and happy.
“I have to say thank you to my team-mates of Real Madrid, and team-mates of Portugal and the coaches. It was an amazing year.”
It created a bit of controversy when no Barcelona player including the Argentine Lionel Messi, elected not to show up.
Argentine legend Diego Maradona was displeased with the absence of Messi in particular. Speaking to reporters after the event, he said,
“I’m disappointed with Messi, from watching television at home you cannot fight anything or anyone – here you can fight,” he told TVE.
“I do not know why Barcelona did not come to such an important event. They have priorities and the priority was for Leo not to come. I think coming here [Zurich] they could fight more than they would in Barcelona.”
Roberto Carlos also had this to say,
“I am sad and disappointed that Leo and his team-mates have not come. They have many great footballers and all of us would have liked to see them attend,” the former Brazil international said before the ceremony.
“We all wanted to see Messi, the other big players and the coach of Barcelona here. It’s a FIFA prize. FIFA is the highest authority in football. So everyone should be here.
“Cristiano has learned the importance of this and I think Leo also needs to learn that he must be here. This has to change.
Real Madrid also have a match this week but they are well represented in Zurich. The obligations to win for both clubs are the same.”
Retired Madrid Legend and Spanish footballer Miguel Salgado also said,
“Real Madrid are currently the best team in the world so maybe this has affected the decision of the Barcelona players. Barcelona are wrong for not sending their best players.
“I know that the club has had issues with FIFA in the past but Barcelona needs to understand that FIFA is changing. This is not how you expect one of the world’s biggest clubs to behave.”
Ronaldo De Lima, the famous Brazilian forward who played for both teams endorsed Christiano Ronaldo as an all time great of the sport.
Speaking to France Football, he said,
“Individually, he did more than anyone else in the world, and collectively he won the two most important titles that appeared in 2016: the Champions League and the Euros.
“This fourth Ballon d’Or seems to me to be more than deserved.”
Christiano Ronaldo who received the award just weeks after receiving the Ballon d’or is the toast of the moment.
Already this season, he has scored 17 goals in all competitions.
Do not bet against his retaining the award.