Legends laud The Best finalists
Finalists for The Best FIFA Women’s and Men’s Player awards were announced today
FIFA Legends Kristine Lilly and Sami Khedira discussed those in contention
Both named their favourites for the player and coach awards
Two FIFA Legends were on hand today to help reveal the finalists for The Best FIFA Women’s Player and The Best FIFA Men’s Player awards.
USA icon Kristine Lilly, the most-capped player in the history of the beautiful game, joined a fellow world champion in ex-Germany star Sami Khedira for a live-streamed announcement event in which the top trios were unveiled to the world.
Afterwards, these former midfielders took time to discuss the merits of the outstanding players and coaches who have been nominated, answering questions from media and fans, and even declaring their personal picks for a couple of the top honours.
Sami Khedira on...
The Best FIFA Men’s Player finalists
“I think [Robert] Lewandowski has a big opportunity to win it again because what he has done in the last season, breaking the Bundesliga record of Gerd Muller, has been absolutely amazing. But all three players are outstanding and it’s nice to see nominees from three different continents. You have [Lionel] Messi winning the Copa America with Argentina, getting the Golden Boot and Golden Ball for the outstanding things he did on the pitch, and Mohamed Salah scoring so many goals for Liverpool. He’s been dominating the Premier League, which for me is the best league in the world, and is such a great player.
"But if you ask my opinion, I would go for Lewandowski because he’s such a professional and amazing player. It’s not an easy decision – Jorginho could have been there after winning the Champions League and European Championship, and also [Giorgio] Chiellini after what he did at his age – but only three players can be on the shortlist and in the end I think the three named are absolutely correct.”
The Best FIFA Men’s Coach finalists
“From my point of view, it’s very close. If you start with Pep Guardiola, what more can you say about him? Every year he is on these shortlists and you can say that he is one of the best coaches of all time. And for Roberto Mancini to win the EURO, especially in the current situation, was something amazing and special. He’s a top coach who’s doing a great job with the Italian national team. I’ve spoken to players like Chiellini and [Leonardo] Bonucci and they say that he is also an incredible person.
"But my favourite is Thomas Tuchel because Chelsea were struggling a lot but he came into the job in January. He completely changed their mentality and style of play and they won the Champions League. They didn’t do it just by luck either – they dominated almost every game, including against Real Madrid and the final itself. To be honest, Tuchel won that Champions League final because he picked the right tactics, the right formation and he changed the game. In my opinion he has to win the trophy this year.”
Kristine Lilly on...
The Best FIFA Women’s Player finalists
“We have the two Spaniards, teaming up on Sam Kerr, and obviously they’ve had a fantastic season, winning the Champions League with Barcelona. I’m seeing the two forwards in there, with Jennifer Hermoso and Kerr, and as a midfielder my heart might tend to go closer to Alexia [Putellas] as the playmaker, almost quarterback, of that Barcelona team. But it will be a hard choice. Kerr is a player I’ve seen a bit more of because she played in the US for a while and she’s been a great player for Australia for so long, besides now making an impact with Chelsea. I do love her.
"But what the Spanish team have done has been so impressive and they’re going to be fun to watch at the upcoming EURO and World Cup. Marta dominated this award for so long, and a bunch of US players have been in there forever, so players coming into contention from different parts of the world is great for the women’s game. My heart might be leaning a little more towards Alexia, my fellow midfielder, and as a lefty I like the fact that the two Spanish players are both left-footed. But it’s a great top three that we have and all three players should be super-proud of what they’ve done to get this far. I’m glad I don’t have to pick the winner!"
The Best Women’s Coach finalists
“Do I have a favourite? Well, I played with Sarina Wiegman collegiately and then against her before she became a coach. I then watched her team come up against the US in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final and I think that what she’s done for the game in Holland has been incredible. What she did with that team in the EURO and the World Cup was just amazing, and now she’s obviously gone over to England to coach there. I think she’s done a tremendous job and would be well deserving.”