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Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski was named The Best FIFA Men’s Player for a second consecutive year on January 17, 2022. The Bayern Munich and Poland striker beat Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah for the top honour on this occasion. Meanwhile, Alexia Putellas followed her Ballon d’Or success by winning The Best FIFA Women's Player honour.

FIFA Best player award is an annual award presented by football’s governing body and has been in existence since 2016. The honour was formerly known as the FIFA World Player of the Year and was merged with the Ballon d’Or. Since 2016 though, the two have been different entities altogether.

Unlike the Ballon d’Or, fans are given a significant weightage in deciding the Best FIFA football award recipient. The results are decided through votes from the following parameters:

  1. Current national team coaches
  2. Current captain of every national team
  3. One specialist journalist from each territory
  4. Fans registered on FIFA.com

Each category has a 25 per cent weightage.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the first-ever recipient of the Best FIFA Men’s Player honour while USA’s Carli Lloyd was named the Best FIFA Women’s player in 2016. 

Apart from this, goalkeepers also receive a special mention in the form of The Best FIFA Goalkeeper. It was started in 2017 in the men’s category, while the first Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper award was given in 2019.

The other category in these awards is The Best FIFA Football Coach. Former Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri was the first-ever recipient in 2016 while current Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel won the award for 2021.

Apart from the individual honours, the organising body also announces a FIFA FIFPRO Men’s World 11 in both men’s and women’s categories.

The record for most FIFA Best Player award winner is credited to Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. The duo have won the honour two times.

The Best FIFA Men’s Player winners list

Year Player Team
2016 Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid and Portugal
2017 Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid and Portugal
2018 Luka Modric Real Madrid and Croatia
2019 Lionel Messi Barcelona and Argentina
2020 Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich and Poland
2021 Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich and Poland

The Best FIFA Women’s Player winners list

Year Player Team
2016 Carli Lloyd Houston Dash and USA
2017 Lieke Martens Barcelona and Netherlands
2018 Marta Orlando Pride and Brazil
2019 Megan Rapinoe Reign FC and USA
2020 Lucy Bronze Manchester City and England
2021 Alexia Putellas Barcelona and Spain

Featured photo: AFP / Harold Cunningham

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