Messi wins FIFA top player award; Alex Morgan second for women’s prize

World Cup champion Lionel Messi was named best men’s soccer player in 2022 by FIFA during a ceremony held in Paris on Monday. Meanwhile, U.S. women’s national team star Alex Morgan finished second to Spain’s Alexia Putellas for the women’s 2022 award.

Messi now has won the men’s award for the second time (first since 2019), while Putellas won the women’s award for the second consecutive year. 

Messi finally won his first World Cup, delivering Argentina its first world championship since 1986, all the while cementing his status as arguably the game’s greatest-ever player. The 2022 tournament represented a record-tying fifth World Cup appearance for Messi. The top player from the team that Argentina defeated in the World Cup final, Kylian Mbappé, finished second in the voting for the men’s award, while Karim Benzema — the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner — finished third.

Polish soccer star Robert Lewandowski had won the previous two men’s awards.

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Alex Morgan’s big 2022 season gets recognized

For the second time in her career — 2019 being the other — Morgan has finished second for the Best FIFA Women’s Player. USWNT players Carli Lloyd (2016) and Megan Rapinoe (2019) have previously won the award.

Morgan played a vital role in helping the USWNT’s win the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Championship. Morgan’s three goals tied with three other players (Canada’s Jessie Fleming and Julia Grosso, and Jamaica’s Khadija Shaw) for the most in the tournament. The USWNT outscored opponents 13-0 over five games en route to securing automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup and 2024 Olympics in Paris. 

Morgan also won the NWSL Golden Boot award after scoring a career-high 15 regular-season goals for San Diego Wave FC, an expansion team she helped direct to playoff qualification.

Who were 2022 FIFA Best winners?

A number of other awards were presented to goalkeepers, coaches and the player judged to have the most impressive goal.

Here are the 2022 winners (country and club team, if applicable):

Best FIFA Women’s Player: Alexia Putellas (Spain and FC Barcelona Femení)Best FIFA Men’s Player: Lionel Messi (Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain)Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper: Mary Earps (England and Manchester United)Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martínez (Argentina and Aston Villa)Best FIFA Women’s Coach: Sarina Wiegman (England)Best FIFA Men’s Coach: Lionel Scaloni (Argentina)FIFA Puskás Award: Marcin Oleksy (Poland and Warta Poznań)FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11: Christiane Endler (Chile and Lyon), Lucy Bronze (England and Barcelona), Mapi León (Spain and Barcelona), Leah Williamson (England and Arsenal), Wendie Renard (France and Lyon), Alexia Putellas (Spain and Barcelona), Keira Walsh (England and Barcelona), Lena Oberdorf (Germany and Wolfsburg), Alex Morgan (United States and San Diego Wave FC), Sam Kerr (Australia and Chelsea), Beth Mead (England and Arsenal)FIFA FIFPRO Men’s World 11: Thibaut Courtois (Belgium and Real Madrid), Achraf Hakimi (Morocco and Paris Saint-Germain), João Cancelo (Portugal and Bayern Munich), Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands and Liverpool), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium and Manchester City), Luka Modrić (Croatia and Real Madrid), Casemiro (Brazil and Manchester United), Lionel Messi (Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain), Kylian Mbappé (France and Paris Saint-Germain), Karim Benzema (France and Real Madrid)

What makes the FIFA award different from the Ballon d’Or?

The Ballon d’Or is the more familiar —and prestigious — of the two, having been around since 1956, compared to 2017 for the FIFA awards.

Voting for the FIFA awards includes national team coaches and captains, selected journalists in each of FIFA’s 211 member countries, plus fans online. The Ballon’ d’Or, meanwhile, is awarded by France Football magazine.

The FIFA award was formerly known as the FIFA World Player of the Year, and was then the FIFA Ballon d’Or from 2010 to 2015. France Football magazine regained control of the Ballon d’Or in 2016.

Messi has won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times.

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