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The Best FIFA Men's Player Shortlist: 5 Snubs and Surprises

As the case with every awards list, there are some surprises. Suffice it to say, some of these inclusions and exclusions were rather shocking.

Last updated: 02.08.2019
The Best FIFA Men's Player Shortlist: 5 Snubs and Surprises | Sports Social Blog

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While it is true that the team accolades will always trump the individual ones, one cannot hope to have a great team with championship trophies without great individual performances. Therein lies the significance of individual awards. Every player who contributes, especially ones who come out on top, want to be recognized and every football fan wants to see their favourites get the spotlight for sublime performances. And thus we have the Best FIFA awards and arguably the biggest one to watch out for is the FIFA Best Men’s Player Award. The shortlist for nominees has been announced and true to any awards shows, you can’t complete anything without a few surprises that make you scratch your head.


#1. Harry Kane’s inclusion:



Harry Kane is a brilliant striker with a terrific eye for finishing. He’s one of the most dependable goalscorers in the league and was the top scorer for Tottenham with 17 goals. That being said, he was debatably not the best player for Tottenham this season. He missed some key matches due to injury(Tottenham vs Man CIty UCL) and some other Tottenham players like Heung Min Son stepped up and came out with top-notch performances on repeat. He was also not very effective against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions' League Final. There’s also the fact that quite a few players who probably deserved a spot didn’t get it over him but more on that later.


#2. Raheem Sterling’s exclusion: 


Arguably the biggest snub. Sterling impressed every single football fan with his performances. He was one of the key reasons, Man City won the PL and had an impressive showing in UCL. He was the winner of the FWA footballer of the year and was neck and neck with Virgil Van Dijk in the race for the PFA player of the season. The way he reads the attack and executed plays along the wing while also being a capable finisher was nothing short of the gold standard for the way football is meant to be played. Despite the amount of aggressive and risky attack football he plays he still had a passing accuracy of 85%. He had 17 goals and 10 assists in the league. In spite of this, Harry Kane was picked above him. Kane had the same amount of goals and not nearly as many assists despite being an out and out goalscorer for the club. Sterling is not exactly the club’s goalscorer but he was crucial in Man City’s crusade this season.


#3. The Two Former Ajax-men:


Ajax shocked everyone with their performances this season. They were the underdogs twice as they faced Real Madrid and Juventus and both times, they came out on top. Something no one expected from Ajax, a team with a legendary history but not so much of a legacy in recent times. De Ligt was their nineteen-year-old captain defending with aggression and moving up front as the game called even scoring. De Jong was their midfield talent who excelled at dribbling and passing. But it was not like they carried the entire team. The Ajax of 2018-19 was blessed with an ocean of talent with the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Daley Blind and Van De Beek all of whom were arguably just as crucial. And while their run was impressive, they still didn’t lift the UCL. It was impressive considering no one expected them. An underrated club churned out a fantastic season and that is great but you have to be a step above the best and not just underrated to win the best awards. And considering that not one but two players made, it could be argued that one of the Man City players would have been a better choice.


#4. No Bernardo Silva:


Man City makes takes another spot and it’s hard to argue against it. Bernardo Silva was impeccable this season. He was ever-present and his passing, dribbling and attack awareness was in peak footballing condition. Silva grew into one of those players Portugal fans would count on alongside Ronaldo. He scored 7 goals and assists apiece with 1.4 dribbles and 2 key passes per game in the Premier League. Beyond the numbers and taking a look at the way he played in offense, it could be argued that even those numbers do not properly illustrate his genius this season.


#5. No Alisson Becker:


It could be argued that this exclusion damages the credibility of the awards like no other. Liverpool were dealt a heavy blow in the 17-18 UCL final when their then-GK Karius’ fumbles made them lose the match at the hands of Real Madrid. They needed an overhaul and they were willing to fork over gargantuan amounts of money to get a taste of UCL glory. As a result, after a massive 57 million pound transfer. Jump Cut to a year later and it was absolutely worth it. A lot of people are now campaigning for the Brazilian goalkeeper. He won the Premier League Golden Gloves in his first season with 21 clean sheets. He was the recipient of unanimous praise for his stopping power, athleticism and read of the game. He ended up winning both the UCL and the Copa America. Aside from conceding a penalty in the final, his entire Copa America was nothing but clean sheets. He simply shone on all fronts in the 2018-19 season leaving no stone unturned. His exclusion from the list feels like a genuine mishap.



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