FIFA reveal final shortlist for The Best Women’s Player award
Beth Mead, Alexia Putellas and Alex Morgan have been named as the three finalists for The Best FIFA Women’s Player Award 2022.
The initial shortlist of 14 was compiled by a panel of experts, and this has been whittled down to three by a jury comprising of women’s national team coaches, women’s national team captains, women’s football journalists, and a public supporter vote.
The shortlist is based on performances between 7 August 2021 and 31 July 2022, and the winner will be announced at a ceremony on February 27 2023.
Mead’s nomination comes following a flying domestic season for Arsenal which saw her register 11 goals and eight assists in 22 WSL appearances.
The winger then played a pivotal role in England’s Euro 2022 triumph, chipping in with six goals and four assists to scoop the player of the tournament and golden boot accolades.
Morgan finished as the NWSL’s top scorer during her debut season with San Diego Wave, netting 15 times in 17 appearances.
On the international stage, the striker finished as joint-top scorer and player of the tournament at the CONCACAF W Championship, netting the winner in the final.
Putellas enjoyed the most prolific season of her career during the 2021/22 campaign, scoring 34 goals in all competitions as Barcelona completed a domestic double.
The midfielder was the Champions League’s top scorer last term with 11 goals as her side were beaten in the final by Lyon, before an ACL injury cruelly denied her a place at Euro 2022.
Putellas is vying to become the first person to win The Best FIFA Women’s award for a second consecutive season.
The players cut from the 14-person shortlist were Aitana Bonmati, Debinha, Jessie Fleming, Ada Hegerberg, Sam Kerr, Vivianne Miedema, Lena Oberdorf, Alexandra Popp, Wendie Renard, Keira Walsh and Leah Williamson.
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Why Pele wanted Lionel Messi & Argentina to win 2022 World Cup
The daughter of the late Pele has revealed that the footballing legend wanted bitter rivals Argentina to win the 2022 World Cup for Lionel Messi after Brazil’s elimination.
After a battle with cancer, Pele passed away at the age of 82 on December 29 2022, 11 days after the World Cup final.
He spent much of the tournament in Qatar in palliative care and surrounded by family.
Pele’s beloved Brazil were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Croatia on penalties, missing out on a South American showdown with Argentina.
His daughter, Kely Nascimento, shared a story about her father on Instagram after bumping into Messi’s wife, Antonela Roccuzzo.
Nascimento wrote: “Story time: This is the very beautiful and graceful Antonela Roccuzzo, Messi’s wife.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Messi so when I met her in that magical place of every party (the ladies’ room) I passed him a message through her.
“By the time Brazil lost against Croatia my dad was getting a lot worse. Everybody wanted Brazil to win this cup for my dad, nobody more than the national team!
“But my father understood better than most what football is like. And it was really this possibility that any team could win that he always talked about that he loved about this beautiful game.
“After the defeat of Brazil every person who entered that hospital room (all day and every day until the final!!!) said: “Hey Pele? Now who do you want? Of course Argentina NO!
“And he would say “Argentina yes! This cup has to stay in South America and Messi deserves it!
“Everyone was pretending (and sometimes not pretending) horror!!! HOW?! Argentina!!!?
“And he would simply say ‘yes, Messi deserves it’.
“He wasn’t getting to watch TV in the final anymore, but he understood that Argentina won and Messi got to lift the cup, and he was happy.
“Long live football.”
Thiago Silva hits out at ‘joke’ ranking for Julian Alvarez at The Best awards
Chelsea and Brazil centre-back Thiago Silva has questioned how Julian Alvarez secured a seventh-place finish at FIFA’s The Best awards recently.
Alvarez impressed with Argentina as La Albiceleste won the World Cup during the winter but has struggled for minutes since joining Manchester City in the summer, starting just six Premier League games as he competes with Erling Haaland.
Despite that, Alvarez still managed to rack up enough points to finish seventh in the award rankings, beating the likes of Neymar, Kevin De Bruyne, Vinicius Junior and Robert Lewandowski.
Only Sadio Mane, Haaland, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and eventual winner Lionel Messi picked up more votes than Alvarez.
The Man City striker’s place on the list has attracted plenty of criticism from fans who argued that the impact of the World Cup played too much of a role in deciding the final rankings, and it seems as though Silva agrees.
“It’s a joke,” Silva wrote on Instagram in response to a post which questioned Alvarez’s final standing.
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The award was partly voted for by fans, with Alvarez picking up the third most votes among supporters, behind only Mbappe and Messi.
Nine of his 15 points came from the fan vote, although the City striker still managed to pick up six from the rest of the voting, which was conducted by coaches, captains and journalists from countries across the world.
Silva himself voted for international teammate Neymar to win the award, with Messi second and Benzema in third.
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