Wiegman third time FIFA coach of the year, Messi best among men
Wiegman for third time FIFA coach of the year: ‘Since I can walk I love soccer’
Sarina Wiegman has been voted female coach of the year at the annual gala of the world soccer federation FIFA in Paris. The Hague-based England national coach won the honorary title for the third time.
“Ever since I could walk I have loved soccer,” Wiegman said on stage in the French capital. “And over the years I have seen how women’s soccer has grown.”
“Here in the hall are the heroes that women’s soccer has produced, little girls now have their examples to look up to. Many people have worked to make this all possible and I am grateful to them,” Wiegman said.
The 53-year-old Wiegman became European champion with England last summer by beating Germany 2-1 at Wembley. She previously won the title in 2017 and 2020 and was nominated for the sixth time.
Wiegman had competition from Sweden’s Pia Sundhage (national coach Brazil) and France’s Sonia Bompastor (coach Olympique Lyonnais).
Lionel Messi was voted footballer of the year for the second time among men. He succeeded Robert Lewandowski.
The 35-year-old Argentine of Paris Saint-Germain left behind teammate Kylian Mbappé and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. Messi was previously voted world footballer of the year by FIFA in 2019.
Alexia Putellas of FC Barcelona received the FIFA Award among women for the second time in a row. She lost the Champions League final to Olympique Lyonnais with Barcelona, but became top scorer with 11 goals.
Messi experienced his major highlight in December by winning the world title with Argentina in Qatar. In addition to Messi, Argentina delivered two more winners with Lionel Scaloni (coach of the year) Emiliano Martínez (goalkeeper of the year).
The Puskas Award for the most beautiful goal of 2022 went to disabled Pole Marcin Oleksy, who managed to score brilliantly with an overhead kick on crutches.
Watch Oleksy’s omelette via the tweet below:
Besides Wiegman, another Dutchman was put in the limelight. Virgil van Dijk was included in the men’s world team. Vivianne Miedema was not chosen among the women. The Arsenal striker, rehabbing from a serious injury, was nominated, however.
There was extensive reflection at the beginning of the gala on the passing of Pelé, considered by many to be the best soccer player ever. The Brazilian died in December at the age of 82.
The three-time world champion’s wife, present in Paris, was presented with an honorary award. “Pelé is immortal,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Real Madrid, the Champions League winner, was not represented at the gala.
According to Spanish media, the club would do so because the main awards of player of the year and coach of the year would not go to the club’s Karim Benzema and Carlo Ancelotti, respectively.
Moreover, Real Madrid would be very upset that the great Brazilian talent Vinícius Júnior is not even a candidate to be chosen in the so-called world team.