Talking Soccer: FIFA’s the Best is nothing but a show

Portuguese soccer player Christiano Ronaldo holds the Best FIFA Men's player award during The Best FIFA 2017 Awards at the Palladium Theatre in London, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lieke Martens from the Netherlands walked away on Monday with the recognition of being considered the best soccer players by FIFA.

But even with a new trophy and new marketing strategy, FIFA is still not a credible organization. After investigations into corruption by the Department of Justice, FIFA doesn’t have much credibility and this award is proof of that.

There are two awards that have recognized the best soccer player throughout the years. In 1956 the French magazine France Football came up with the Ballon D’or, given to the best male soccer player, and it was originally restricted to European players. In 2007 it was opened to players around the world. Soccer journalists vote for the winner.

The other one is the FIFA World Player of the Year, which started in 1991 and existed until 2010. The FIFA Player of the Year was voted on by captains and coaches of each national team. In 2010 both of these awards merged into the FIFA Ballon D’or.

The Ballon D’or seemed to have more prestige than the FIFA World Player of the Year because of who chose the winner, and in 2010 FIFA decided it would be a good idea to consolidate the awards and make it a unanimous decision. Most of the time the same player got both awards anyway.

This partnership ended in 2016 after a year full of scandals and arrests for FIFA. France Football will give an award and FIFA changed the name of theirs to ‘The Best,’ and it is being awarded in October as opposed to January.

FIFA has been criticized and detractors argue that it’s always Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and someone else, regardless if they have a good year or not. It’s hard to have a bad year if you are one of these players and part of what makes them great is how consistent they have been for a long time. But there have been times where others players should have been chosen instead of at least one them.

Soccer fans have lost the faith in the award and in the case of women it’s worse. This year the nominees for best female soccer player are Carli Lloyd and Denya Castillos.

Lloyd is one of the most talented soccer players in the world but she has been injured most of this year. She was the flagship player of the 2015 Women’s World Cup and is without a doubt one of the best in the world, but I don’t think she should have been nominated this year.

Australian Sam Kerr, the most valuable player in the National Women’s Soccer League, was left out. Kerr scored a league-record 17 goals and became the first player to score four goals in one game. She was also awarded the Golden Boot.

Kerr debuted with the Australian National Team when she was 15 years old. She was also named International Player of the Year by the Football Media Association in 2013 and 2014.

Clearly, she has been one of the best for a while but recognition from FIFA has never come. For those who follow women’s soccer, you know FIFA is slow in recognizing the amazing players that are out there.

Kerr deserved to be there. But like other women’s soccer related issues, FIFA is late to the party.


Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.marulanda@uconn.edu.