Tuesday night saw most of the great and good of the modern footballing sphere descend on London for the 2018 Best FIFA Best Awards of the Year FIFA Best Awards (or something like that).
On a fairly nonsensical night of skewed fan votes and meaningless, faux-prestige popularity contests, the charade was perhaps best demonstrated by Mohamed Salah emerging from the Royal Festival Hall with the 2018 Puskas Award tucked beneath his arm.
Salah landed the award (handed over to him by Noel Gallagher, because of course) for the most beautiful goal of the year with his cut-inside-and-curl effort against Everton last December.
A decent enough goal, but hardly on par with Gareth Bale’s audacious overhead kick in the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL or Cristiano Ronaldo’s similarly acrobatic effort against Juventus or Benjamin Pavard’s delightful fader against Argentina AT THE WORLD CUP or Ricardo Quaresma’s exquisite ‘trivela’ goal against Iran that FIFA subsequently named the goal of the tournament AT THE WORLD CUP.
It was an interactive fan vote, in case you hadn’t already guessed.
Even James Milner couldn’t resist a dig while congratulating his Liverpool teammate…
— James Milner (@JamesMilner) 24 September 2018
Well, he’s not wrong.
Elsewhere, Luka Modric beat Ronaldo and Salah into second and third place respectively to win the 2018 Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award.
(Interestingly, Harry Kane was selected as the best player in the world by the national team captains of the Bahamas, Chinese Taipei and Vanuatu)
Didier Deschamps was voted Best FIFA Coach of the Year while Marta took the spoils as Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year.
Thibaut Courtois was named Goalkeeper of the Year (though he was omitted from the Team of the Year, where David De Gea was selected betwixt the sticks) while Peru were voted Fans of the Year for being thoroughly likeable at the World Cup.
The FIFPro World XI Team of the Year was De Gea, Dani Alves (?), Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Luka Modric, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard; Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Well done to all players that have been selected! 👏
— FIFPro (@FIFPro) 24 September 2018
And that’s that. Hours and hours of banal FIFA spiel condensed into 500 words.
In conclusion: There are far too many football award shows and votes these days.