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Cristiano Ronaldo, lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk make up the shortlist for the Very Best Men’s Player award – but that need to win it?
Just how do you differentiate between three players, each with a list of accolades?
We’ve asked Italian football pro Mina Rzouki Spanish soccer writer Andy West along with BBC Sport’s chief football writer Phil McNulty to make their case for every one of the candidates.
Who would you agree with? Take our vote here and choose your own winner. Highlights of the Fifa Football Awards are on BBC One in 23:05 BST on Monday.
Spanish football author Andy West:
Knowing that Lionel Messi is the best player on the planet comes getting eyesand utilizing them to watch soccer.
If you watch him and you’re being goal – you will observe that Messi will be head and shoulders above everyone else. The skill gap is not even close.
Watch himand the goals will be seen by you. You will realize the dribbles. The supernatural moves, the initial touch, the spatial consciousness, the ability to escape the unselfish game awareness, numerous markers. those items will be seen by you, and you’ll be made to admit: Messi is just the ideal. Up to now.
If you don’t trust your eyes to reach that conclusion, maybe the stats will provide help. You most likely already know that Messi scored more league goals than anyone else in Europe at 2018-19 (36, before Kylian Mbappe’s 33). However, Messi’s all-round magnificence is represented from the fact he was also one of Europe’s top performers in assists (fifth), chances created in open play (third), dribbles completed (fourth), passes into the final third (moment ) and shots contrary to the fort (original ). He is a striker, playmaker and winger all wrapped into one.
Those exploits led with Messi inspiring Barcelona to a team title, also, to silverware, finishing 11 points before Atletico Madrid.
He also excelled in the Champions League, easily topping the contest’s scoring graphs (12). And before you throw Anfield in his head, note that Messi made more opportunities and had more shots on target than any other player in that dramatic instant leg (including Liverpool players). It’s hardly his fault his team-mates forgot the way to complete or defend.
Messi’s issue, and the sole reason the’deserving’ winner of awards like this is even discussed, is that we take him for granted.
As soon as we see – to mention a game a larger-than-normal variety of UK-based fans will have witnessed – the incredible performance he produced at Wembley last October to destroy a helpless Tottenham defence, we shrug our shoulders and say:”Well, that’s Messi.” We would be in raptures if that level was reached by a different player once. With Messi, it’s normal.
But the simple fact that he delivers screens of overpowering that is such brilliance 30 or 25 times per season should not be brushed aside. We ought to appreciate him while we can, and enjoy his splendour that is unmatched as opposed to reason that it’s someone else’s turn. There’s no other. The best is Messi.
And if you’re still not convinced, take heed of an informed opinion from a guy who played him last season:”Messi remains the best player on the planet and I believe he deserves it [the award] provided he is playing.”
Whose words were they? None Apart from Virgil van Dijk’s.
The other competition for the award believes Messi should acquire it.
Soccer expert Mina Rzouki:
Let us be fair, Ronaldo didn’t outscore Lionel Messi nor did he help Juventus win against the Champions League last season as Virgil van Dijk handled with Liverpool. Three players outscored the Portuguese Icon under Massimiliano Allegri’s tutelage and also for the very first time in Serie A, Juventus did not win the Coppa Italia.
So why if Ronaldo win the Fifa player of the year?
While his critics have plenty to point to if calculating Ronaldo might not have lived around the very substantial expectations that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has set for himself, it also ought to be mentioned exactly how much a difference he left when playing for his nation and brand new club.
Contrary to Messi and Van Dijk, Ronaldo picked a fresh challenge, playing in a new league with along with a new system. Under the advice of a pragmatic coach, Ronaldo was tasked with demonstrating worth – and that he did just that. He had been called as the most valuable player in the league, so assisting Juventus to not only win against the Supercoppa but also the Scudetto by being the club’s top scorer and their inspiration moving.
When changing clubs and leagues how many could boast similar numbers?
It was Ronaldo who scored in the Supercoppa final against Milan to secure the win, Ronaldo who secured the outstanding comeback win against Atletico Madrid from the Champions League and Ronaldo who rallied the troops to guard vital points against the likes of Napoli and Inter, Juve’s challengers to the title.
As for Portugal, manager Fernando Santos confessed to settling running out of adjectives to describing the player in regards and aptly labelling him as’a footballing genius’.
Ronaldo scored a to fasten the existence in the inaugural Nations League’s final of Portugal, while the nation’s eventual win against the Netherlands has been the player name in soccer.
For both club and nation Ronaldo has really made the distinction, winning every closing he played with last season. He’s the participant his team-mates have appeared to, not just to inspire them on the pitch but also to motivate them it off.
BBC chief football writer Phil McNulty:
The best work of virgil van Dijk might not be magnificent or too eye-catching as Lionel Messi’s or Cristiano Ronaldo’s – unless you have observed Liverpool on a normal basis for the last 12 weeks.
Van Dijk’s peerless defending, which makes him the finest in the world in his place, stretches back into the moment he arrived at Liverpool for # 75m in January 2018 from Southampton.
He immediately transformed a formerly vulnerable Liverpool defence to the scope they reached the Champions League Final in the conclusion of that season, but even he was powerless to cure the flaws of hapless goalkeeper Loris Karius which played a large part in their 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev.
Throw his profession forward and we have a participant being ranked with all the best central defenders Liverpool have had – even the likes of Alan Hansen – and who is simply irreplaceable in manager Jurgen Klopp’s plans.
And we also carry a player whose presence, calmness, direction – along with the occasional target such as when he scored a crucial header at the Champions League last 16 second-leg win against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena last year – allowed Liverpool to make up for that bitter confrontation against Real Madrid by claiming European club football’s biggest prize for the sixth time against Tottenham Hotspur at Madrid in June.
Van Dijk’s level consistency is such that if Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe got the better of him in an individual joust at Liverpool’s 3-1 triumph at Anfield on 24 Augustit was the first-time anybody had dribbled past him in a 50-match chain extending back to March 2018.
It’s a Magazine and testimony to how good Van Dijk is and I believe he’ll be a worthy recipient of this Award.
There was almost an air of incredulity if he left the first mistake of severe consequence anyone can remember with optimism when his loose backpass enabled Fernando Llorente to seal Napoli’s 2-0 triumph against Liverpool in their Champions League group game.
Yes, Messi and Ronaldo have sustained incredible longevity and degrees of greatness we may not witness again for a production, but at the previous 12 months that the transformative effect of Van Dijk on Liverpool means no-one should complain if he’s the winner.
Van Dijk is magnificent at the atmosphere, has the capacity to overpower attackers with his bodily existence, includes a finely-honed awareness of threat and his array of short and long passing gives Liverpool an excess dimension to their offensive game.
Quite simply he’s the guardian. He’s played a big part in making Liverpool the team they are.
He is the central plank at a group that has won the Champions League, is playing a part in Ronald Koeman’s competition of the Netherlands domestic side, and is coveted by every club on the planet.
Van Dijk, in my opinion, should acquire this prestigious award.
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Who needs to win the men’s award in the Fifa Football awards???
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