Lionel Messi has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the best player in the world for the fifth time, while US midfielder Carli Lloyd has claimed her first-ever FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award. FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique Martínez and US national team coach Jill Ellis have also been named for the first time as FIFA World Coaches of the Year for Men’s and Women’s Football respectively. The winners were chosen by the coaches and captains of the national teams as well as by international media representatives invited by FIFA and France Football. The entire electoral procedure was overseen and monitored by PricewaterhouseCoopers Switzerland (PwC).
The awards were presented on Monday evening (11 January 2016) during a 90-minute show at Zurich’s Kongresshaus that was hosted by Northern Irish actor James Nesbitt and British journalist Kate Abdo. The musical entertainment for the 1,100 guests and TV viewers in over 190 countries and territories around the world was provided by British pop star Leona Lewis and young Croatian cellists Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, known as 2CELLOS.
This year’s FIFA Fair Play Award was presented to all the football organisations and clubs around the world that are working to support refugees. Former German international Gerald Asamoah, who campaigns for the welfare of refugees, received the award from former South African icon Lucas Radebe on behalf of all the awardees. This year, the world has witnessed a refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe because of conflict in Syria. Many innocent people have fled their homes in desperate conditions to find safety for themselves and their loved ones. Society has responded and the world of football has also contributed to the cause. Clubs and football organisations all over the world have acted to help welcome and support refugees as they integrate into local communities.
International players’ union FIFPro received votes from 26,478 professional players from around the world for the FIFA FIFPro World XI, the best team of 2015, with the following result: Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich) in goal; Dani Alves (Brazil/FC Barcelona), Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid) and Thiago Silva (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain) in defence; Andrés Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona), Luka Modrić (Croatia/Real Madrid) and Paul Pogba (France/Juventus) in midfield; and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona) and Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona) in attack.
The FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of the year was also presented after 1.6 million football fans cast their votes on FIFA.com, FIFA on YouTube and francefootball.fr. This award, which is a tribute to Ferenc Puskás, the captain and star of the 1950s Hungary team, was won by Brazilian Wendell Lira from Goianésia, who topped the poll with 46.7 % of the votes ahead of Lionel Messi (33.3 %) and Alessandro Florenzi (7.1%).
The awards at a glance
The FIFA Ballon d’Or was presented for the sixth time since the merging of the FIFA World Player of the Year award and France Football’s Ballon d’Or award in 2010.
• 165 national team coaches, 162 national team captains and 171 media representatives submitted their votes for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award. Lionel Messi won the title with 41.33% of all votes ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (27.76%) and Neymar (7.86%).
• 136 national team coaches, 135 national team captains and 106 media representatives voted for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award. Carli Lloyd came out on top with 35.28% of all votes, ahead of German Célia Šašić (12.60%) and Japan’s Aya Miyama (9.88%).
• 167 national team coaches, 161 national team captains and 171 media representatives voted for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award. Luis Enrique Martínez won the award with 31.08% of all votes after leading FC Barcelona to four titles (La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup) in 2015. Second and third place were claimed by Pep Guardiola (FC Bayern Munich, 22.97%) and Jorge Sampaoli (Chilean national team, 9.47%) respectively.
• 137 national team coaches, 137 national team captains and 106 media representatives voted for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football award. Jill Ellis won this prize after leading the US women’s national team to glory at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Canada. She secured 42.98% of all votes, ahead of Japan coach Norio Sasaki (17.79%) and England women’s national team coach Mark Sampson (10.68%).