Cristiano Ronaldo was named the world’s best player at the inaugural Best Fifa Football Awards in Zurich. Real Madrid and Portugal forward Ronaldo, 31, beat Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann to the prize.
Ronaldo will remember 2016 for reaching the pinnacle on three fronts: for club, for country and individually.
He was crowned a European champion for both Real Madrid and Portugal – with victory in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA EURO 2016 – and the legendary No7 further rubberstamped his place in the annals of footballing history by being named the world’s best player for the fourth time.
Cristiano clinched the Champions League crown by defeating city rivals Atleti before lifting his country’s first major trophy in France as Portugal’s captain. With his irrepressible thirst for goals, power and speed, Ronaldo continues to amass silverware and records in abundance – and is the inaugural The Best FIFA Men’s Player.
The Best FIFA Men’s Coach
Claudio Ranieri has crowned a year of seeming impossibilities by reaching the pinnacle of his profession as The Best FIFA Men’s Coach.
His Leicester City side were ranked 5000/1 by some bookmakers to win the 2015/16 English Premier League title when the Italian first took charge in July 2015 – the same odds as Elvis Presley being found alive.
Ranieri went on to inspire his charges, instilling an unrivalled team spirit as the club claimed the first top-flight title in their 132-year history.
As the 2016/17 season kicked off, the Italian guided the Foxes to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, in their inaugural season in Europe’s top club competition.
Fair Play Award
The FIFA Fair Play Award recognises exemplary behaviour that promotes the spirit of fair play and compassion on and off the field.
In November this year, tragedy struck South American football, with a profound impact on the global footballing community, after a plane crash in Colombia claimed the lives of the vast majority of its passengers – including the team delegation of Brazilian side Associação Chapecoense de Futebol and members of the media.
The side had been travelling to Medellin for the final round of the Copa Sudamericana, the club’s first major final.
Colombian side Atletico Nacional, Chapecoense’s planned opponents in the continental final, in a remarkable display of humility, sent a request to CONMEBOL to award Chapecoense the title, with the South American governing body duly obliging.
Fans of the clubs shared their grief, and mourned the lives of those lost, together, with thousands of Aletico Nacional supporters attending the stadium at the planned kick-off time of the final’s first leg, in tribute to those that could not be there to play the fixture.
A special panel of experts, comprising Gabriel Batistuta, Marta, Howard Webb, Vladimir Petkovic and Adolf Ogi, assessed several examples of Fair Play which took place this year before deciding upon the victor. The FIFA Fair Play Award for 2016 goes to Atletico Nacional, for their moving gesture.
Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool supporters
A truly iconic song helped claim the inaugural FIFA Fan Award, with supporters of German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and English Premier League team Liverpool taking the historic first trophy.
The award, designed to recognise an outstanding celebratory fan moment or gesture from the calendar year 2016 inclusive, was voted for by FIFA.com users – an award for the fans, decided by the fans.
An expert panel consisting of Zvonimir Boban, Marta, Gabriel Batistuta and Vladimir Petkovic, selected three moments.
Then, the fans voting on FIFA.com chose the two sets of supporters as their winners for their pre-match show of unity ahead of their UEFA Europa League tie in April 2016, ahead of ADO Den Haag supporters and Iceland fans.
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”, a song adopted by the Reds’ fans in the early 1960s, has since travelled around the world, transcending language barriers.
German giants Borussia Dortmund have adopted the anthem, and their fans joined Liverpool supporters in a chorus of solidarity ahead of their April UEFA Europa League meeting, with the Hillsborough disaster’s 27th anniversary the following day.
The moving gesture put sporting rivalry aside for a few minutes.