FIFA’s The Best Awards Controversy: Voters Admit Mistakes, Messi Wins Over Haaland, Roberto Martinez’s Ballot Error

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    Roberto Martinez openly acknowledged making mistakes in the voting process for FIFA’s The Best awards, a competition that recently stirred controversy by declaring Lionel Messi the winner over Erling Haaland. Martinez shed light on the issue, revealing a collective misunderstanding among voters about whether achievements at the 2022 World Cup should be taken into account. In light of this confusion, he disclosed that his vote for Marcelo Brozovic was unintentionally cast in error.

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    WIGAN, ENGLAND – JANUARY 08: ITV pundit Roberto Martinez, manager of the Portugal National Team, during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United at DW Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Wigan, England. (Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

    The outcome of the awards saw Messi crowned as FIFA’s Best Men’s Player of 2023. This decision came after Messi and Haaland finished with equal points, but Messi secured more votes from national team captains. Interestingly, Haaland had achieved greater personal and team success within the specified timeframe for the award.


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    Roberto Martinez Acknowledges Voting Error in Individual Awards, Emphasizes Challenges in Assessing Players Independently

    In his voting process, Roberto Martinez inadvertently considered Marcelo Brozovic’s third-place finish with Croatia in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Martinez indicated that others also made the same error, potentially resulting in an undue emphasis on Lionel Messi’s accomplishments with Argentina over Erling Haaland’s successes with Manchester City.

    Addressing the issue, Martinez admitted the mistake in an interview with A Bola, stating, ‘It was a mistake.’ He highlighted the unique circumstances of the voting, occurring within a six-month window due to the World Cup being held in winter for the first time. Martinez expressed his view on individual football awards, emphasizing the challenge of assessing players independently as they represent their teams’ collective efforts.

    Now we have a lot of votes, we have a lot of elections. We have the FIFA player, The Best player, who has been there all season. The first time we have a World Cup in winter and the voting is strange, because it was only for six months.”

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    Lionel Messi Image Credits X Twitter
    Lionel Messi, Image Credits- X (Twitter)

    For me, individual awards in football are difficult. I think the individual player represents what the team did. And what about Brozovic and Bernardo, and the players who were in the Champions League final, and who were successful in domestic trophies.”

    Martinez also acknowledged the broader oversight in the voting process, pointing out that other players, such as those in the Champions League final and successful in domestic competitions, deserved consideration. Despite recognizing Brozovic as a player who embodies a certain style of play and represents Croatia’s approach, Martinez reiterated that the vote for Brozovic was a mistake, especially considering the specific period under consideration. He suggested that he wasn’t alone in making this error, noting a broader trend in the votes reflecting an inclination to factor in the events of the World Cup.

    Lionel Messi Clinches FIFA’s The Best Award: Distinct Criteria, Exclusion of World Cup, and Martinez’s Voting Confusion

    FIFA’s The Best award and the Ballon d’Or are distinct honors, both claimed by Lionel Messi, but with different criteria for their respective assessments. While Messi won both accolades, the Ballon d’Or considered the Qatar World Cup in its votes, unlike The Best award.

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    The timeframe for The Best award spanned from December 19, 2022, to August 20, 2023, deliberately excluding the 2022 World Cup, won by Argentina. Messi and Haaland tied with 48 scoring points each, with voting involving men’s international coaches, captains, journalists, and fans, each contributing 25% to the overall vote.

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 04: Erling Haaland of Manchester City warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester City and AFC Bournemouth at Etihad Stadium on November 04, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

    Messi secured the win with more first-choice nominations from international captains (107) compared to Haaland’s 64. As the World Cup was excluded, Messi’s contributions to PSG and Inter Miami during that period played a pivotal role in earning him the award. Messi netted nine goals for PSG as they won Ligue 1, followed by 10 goals in seven games for Inter Miami, who clinched the Leagues Cup in the US. In contrast, Haaland’s remarkable 52 goals for Manchester City in all competitions, contributing to their Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League triumphs, didn’t sway the final outcome.

    Notably, Messi’s recognition as the first MLS star to claim the award underscores his impact on both domestic and international fronts. The award, established in 2016, has seen Messi secure victory three times, surpassing two-time champions Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski, as well as one-time winner Luka Modric.

    Roberto Martinez’s comments shed light on the confusion among voters regarding the unusual timing of the World Cup and whether it should be factored into considerations. The World Cup concluded near the end of December 2022, making it ineligible for votes in the preceding award year. While Brozovic, for whom Martinez voted, had a successful 2023 with Inter Milan reaching the Champions League final, Martinez’s revelation raises questions about the clarity of communicated criteria for the award.

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