The Best FIFA Football Awards™

Monday 24 September 2018, London

The Best FIFA Football Awards™

The Best players at Russia 2018

  • Every nominee for The Best FIFA Men’s Player featured at Russia 2018
  • Seven of which reached the World Cup semis
  • All of them earned a medal or trophy

As the peak of the year’s footballing calendar, it is no real surprise that every player on the shortlist for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award set foot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

However, those who left with a lasting reminder – be it medal or trophy – will find their exploits in Russia at the top of their pledges to walk away with the award in London on 24 September. We take a closer look at the seven players with that in their corner.

© Getty Images

Kevin De Bruyne

Belgium

Standout moment

With an explosive swing of the boot all too familiar to those who watch him week in, week out, his fiercely-struck winner against Brazil caused a sharp intake of breath around the football world and showed how devastating he can be.

What they said

“He is a modern playmaker. Some playmakers stop the tempo but Kevin goes even quicker. His execution is exceptional and so in the final third his performance is very attractive and then he gets bigger recognition.”
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez

The stat

Only three players made more key passes than De Bruyne’s 77 in Russia.

© Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann

France

Standout moment

While throughout the tournament he shone from dead balls, in scoring the opener in the Final he put in a man of the match display as France ran out 4-2 winners over Croatia.

What they said

“The fact that he has already accomplished very beautiful things, his quality, his standing can now weigh in his status as a credible candidate."
Former France international Alan Giresse on Griezmann’s chance at winning individual honours

The stat

In his last seven international knockout matches, Griezmann has netted no fewer than eight goals.

© Getty Images

Eden Hazard

Belgium

Standout moment

His superb footwork to open up space to swing in an inch-perfect cross with his ‘unfavoured’ left foot for Marouane Fellaini to equalise against Japan showed how key his creativity and precision are for Belgium.

What they said

"He's got extraordinary qualities, does things other players cannot. And you don't just run him over. He's very strong on his feet so it's difficult to take the ball off him. I think he's the complete player."
Red Devils team-mate Thomas Meunier

The stat

Hazard had more successful dribbles, 40 in total, than any other player at the World Cup.

© Getty Images

Harry Kane

England

Standout moment

His header in England’s opener against Tunisia, deep into stoppage time, set the tone for the feel-good nature of the Three Lions’ tournament and showed his talismanic status in the team.

What they said

“He is showing all the attributes to be a world-class striker. We can all see the difference he has made for England, not only with his goals but also because of his great movement, which creates so many chances for team-mates.”
Brazilian forward Marta

The stat

Harry Kane’s six goals, to clinch the adidas Golden Boot, came from just six shots on target.

© Getty Images

Kylian Mbappe

France

Standout moment

While he may have scored the thumping fourth in the Final, Mbappe’s unstoppably electric performance against Argentina will be remembered for years to come as the day the world sat up and took notice.

What they said

“I didn’t know him. Now he has played a lot for France, a lot in the Champions League. He is a different player, a star for the next 15 years and I think he can even improve.”
Kevin De Bruyne on not knowing Mbappe when Monaco knocked Manchester City out of the UEFA Champions League in 2017

The stat

The FIFA Young Player Award winner was only the second teenager to score in a World Cup Final, alongside Pele in 1958.

© Getty Images

Luka Modric

Croatia

Standout moment

While you could look to his stunning goal against Argentina, or his impeccable performance as a tireless midfield metronome in the semi-final, his character to convert from the spot against Denmark in the shoot-out just minutes after missing in extra-time spoke volumes about the eventual adidas Golden Ball winner.

What they said

“We are all football lovers and we know Modric is an incredible player. Because we are a small country, Luka gets less attention than he deserves. He is one of the best in the world.”
Croatia team-mate Dejan Lovren

The stat

No one covered more ground while in possession than Luka Modric, clocking up 29.77km with the ball at his feet.

© Getty Images

Raphael Varane

France

Standout moment

His quarter-final header against Uruguay. Having been blamed for being beaten to Mats Hummels’ headed winner four years ago, it was poetic that Varane struck at the same stage in Russia, before giving an impressively solid display at the back to secure victory.

What they said

“As Dembele tells me, I have completed football.”
Varane on being complemented for his exceptional season by team-mate Ousmane Dembele

The stat

Varane became only the 11th player to win the World Cup and UEFA Champions League in the same season. Seven of those were German who triumphed with Bayern Munich in 1974, while every other player has done so with Real Madrid on four separate occasions – including fellow Frenchman Christian Karembeu in 1998.

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