The Best FIFA Football Awards 2020: The hit and the miss
The latest FIFA Football Award show; from GOATing Lewandowski to Klopp 'blunder', and what in the world was Rapinoe doing in FIFPRO World XI?
When Lewandowski was announced as the Best Men Player for 2020, everyone agreed. It's the least he deserves for a mouth-watering season he had, there were online petitions to hand him the Ballon d'Or after the Award body announced its cancellation for this year.
He raised his bar high to the GOATs. Thirty-four goals, four assists in thirty-one Bundesliga matches; Fifteen goals, six assists in ten Champions League matches - and a total of fifty-five goals in forty-seven games in all competitions. These are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo numbers. It must be a feasible decision for FIFA.
But in another highlight, we saw Jurgen Klopp named the Best Men Coach of the year. One of the worsts of the night, such decisions make you question what the award is meant for. Klopp's achievement this season may mean more for a Liverpool fan but it's just the Premier League, the same one Pep Guardiola lifted in the 18/19 season and yet Klopp won the manager of the year because he achieved the same trophy Flick won a year later - but the latter wasn't crowned.
Hansi Flick has won more trophies as Bayern Munich manager (5) than he has lost games (3) since being appointed in November 2019. I understand how inferior the Bundesliga may be considered to the Premier League but his Champions League performance speaks. Talk of big clubs: He humiliated Barcelona 8-2 in a single match, beat Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate and triumph Paris Saint-German in the final.
Klopp didn't feature well in the last Champions League campaign; not quarter, neither semi nor final. He got knocked out at the Round Of 16 stage by Atletico Madrid, lost home and away of the tie. Knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea. Maybe the Premier League title hype would be justified if it was gold, but no, he lost to Watford 3-0.
So why this horrendous decision, should we fault the voters? Yes, but the Award body also didn't fulfil justice when Marcelo Bielsa was nominated in the category. It's Klopp-Esque hogwash. He got nominated because he promoted Leeds back to the Premier League after a long wait. if it's about that, then Daniel Farke who promoted Norwich with a lesser budget to Bielsa should have also got a nomination.
Back to the voters, I think the current voting system is not the best possible. You ask captains and managers of every FIFA registered nation to vote and they just choose whom they like, not who should win. Player PR plays a massive role here. For instance, Megan Rapinoe hasn't played a match since March (she plays in America where their season runs from April to November meaning she hasn't played a game this season) and yet was voted in the FIFA FIFPRO World 11. Thanks to the massive PR she got through several campaigns, from going at Trump to Gender Equality, to Racism, and even calling out Messi and Ronaldo for staying too silent on social issues.
When you have scenarios like this what do you do? I would suggest revolutionise it. Voting can still be an approach to choose the Best, but let's change some things.
I would propose that the captains and managers of the top nations on the FIFA World ranking have more say in voting. Let's look at how the top countries voted in the just-concluded poll in the Best Men Coach category. France sit 2nd in World ranking, its captain Hugo Lloris voted Flick - Brazil sit 3rd, its captain Thiago Silva voted Flick - England sit 4th, its captain Harry Kane voted Flick - Portugal sit 5th, its captain Cristiano Ronaldo voted Flick. Summarily no country in the top 5 voted Klopp, and only Eden Hazard of Belgium didn't vote Flick - he voted Zidane.
And then you have captains from countries like Cyprus who sit 100th on World ranking voted Klopp, Bahrain who sit 97th voted Klopp, Afghanistan who sit 150th voted Klopp and many more like that. No disrespect to these countries and their love for the game, but the ones at the top should get more chances to choose the Best.
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