- Lotta Schelin, Diego Forlan & Faryd Mondragon talk The Best FIFA Football Awards
- Schelin: Wendie Renard is right at the top of my list
- Forlan: Lewandowski and Thiago are the favourites for me
On Thursday 3 December, FIFA hosted an online discussion ahead of The Best FIFA Football Awards™ 2020.
Three FIFA legends took part in the conversation: Sweden’s record-breaking goalscorer Lotta Schelin (88 goals), who was named in the Team of the Tournament at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™; former Uruguay captain Diego Forlan (112 caps), who won the adidas Golden Boot as the leading scorer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™; and former Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon (50 caps) who, at 43 years and three days old, became the second-oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup.
The three FIFA legends were part of the group of experts who selected the shortlists for The Best FIFA Men’s Player, The Best FIFA Women’s Player, The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper, The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper, The Best FIFA Men’s Coach and The Best FIFA Women’s Coach awards at The Best FIFA Football Awards 2020. Read on to find out who their favourites for each award are and why.
Do you think it is good for 2020 to finish with The Best FIFA Football Awards?
Schelin: Definitely. It’s important that these events can take place, as we don’t want to cancel them. At the end of the day, we want to give something back to the players who have worked so hard all year. That’s why it’s fantastic that technology is making it possible for everyone to get involved, even if the event can’t take place on a big stage this year.
Forlan: It has been a difficult year for everyone, but life and football go on and we are adapting. It’s a good thing that everything hasn’t come to a halt and that there is a ‘new normal’ right now. Hopefully we can get back to celebrating the event in the usual way next year.
Mondragon: I think football has a universal language, the most important aspect of which is passion. This passion will never fade as long as the ball keeps rolling. And while we can’t enjoy the occasion in person this year, I expect a high-quality event. Ever since Gianni Infantino took over as FIFA President, every FIFA event has dazzled with this high level of quality and this year will be no exception.
How important is it that football has continued being played?
Schelin: I think it was very important for the entire football family as well as for the fans at home. There’s no getting away from the fact that we’re living through a pandemic right now, so certain precautious have to be taken and we’re looking at things from a different perspective. Football can also give people at home a lot of joy at this time, and that’s why I think it’s important to play as much football as possible if we can.
Who has the best chance of becoming The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2020?
Schelin: Pernille Harder stands out in Europe, for example, and we also have Sam Kerr from Australia. Then, of course, there are five fantastic players from my former club Olympique Lyon who won the UEFA Women’s Champions League again as well as the French double. For me Wendie Renard deserves it the most. She’s a defender, and it’s always tough for defenders to win awards like this one. Wendie not only stops goals from going in but scores important ones too, and has been playing at such a high level for so long. That’s why she’s right at the top of my list.
Who has the best chance of collecting The Best FIFA Women’s Coach award?
Schelin: Looking at the list, I think Olympique Lyon have the coach who brought home the UEFA Women’s Champions League trophy and has performed fantastically well. That’s why it has to be Jean-Luc Vasseur for me.
Who will be crowned The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper?
Schelin: I really like Paris Saint-Germain’s Christiane Endler and she has the potential to become 'The Best'. This year I think it’ll be hard to win the award without any silverware, which is why I think it will be Sarah Bouhaddi. Of course, my Swedish compatriot Hedvig Lindahl is also a fantastic goalkeeper, but she was injured for a long time and only played a few matches. Sarah is an outstanding shotstopper; I know her and have played both with and against her.
Who has the best chance of becoming The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2020?
Forlan: Bayern Munich obviously impressed as a team last season. Robert Lewandowski is a wonderful striker and one of the last real No9s along with Luis Suarez or Falcao, but there aren’t many examples of that type of player left. Thiago Alcantara was also a key player for Bayern and now at Liverpool. Then, of course, there is Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored more than 100 international goals, or Neymar, who had a super season for PSG, or even Lionel Messi, who perhaps didn’t have such a good campaign but is still a fantastic player. Although it’s not easy, I think Lewandowski and Thiago deserve to win it.
Who will be named The Best FIFA Men’s Coach?
Forlan: I think it will be a two-horse race between Hans-Dieter Flick and Jurgen Klopp. Both of them had a great season and won trophies. Julen Lopetegui won the UEFA Europa League, which isn’t easy to do, so he also deserves to be among the top three coaches.
Who will become The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper?
Mondragon: I’m glad that two goalkeepers from South and Central America have made it onto the list in Alisson Becker and Keylor Navas. Jan Oblak has had several fantastic seasons for Atletico Madrid in recent years, and Marc-Andre ter Stegen has also improved further. Then, of course, we have Manuel Neuer, who not only excelled last season but has shown great character throughout his career. Neuer made some important saves at the end of the season in particular that won not just matches but titles, which is why he is my top candidate for the award.