The Best FIFA Football Awards™

The Best FIFA Football Awards™

Monday 23 September 2019, Milan

The Best FIFA Football Awards

When Messi and Ronaldo first went to the FIFA Awards

Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Lionel Messi at the 2007 FIFA Gala
© imago
  • Messi and Ronaldo first went to the FIFA Gala in 2007
  • takes a fun look at what was happening at the time
  • Which films, songs and sportspeople were en vogue?

The date was 17 December 2007. The venue was the Zurich Opera House. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, 20 and 22 years old respectively, were present at FIFA’s annual awards’ ceremony for the first time.

They ultimately finished second and third behind Kaka in the FIFA World Player of the Year running. Nobody could have predicted Messi and Ronaldo would share the next ten top male individual awards between them and, 12 years later, would both still be among the ten nominees for The Best FIFA Men’s Player. To underscore just how extraordinary the longevity of these two Martians is, takes a light-hearted look at what was happening in the world around 17 December 2007.

WhatsApp and Instagram didn’t exist. They now have 1.5 billion and 2.5 billion monthly active users respectively.

Irreplaceable by Beyonce and Umbrella by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z were the best-selling singles of 2007. Amy Winehouse had just released the album Back to Black, decorated by the track Rehab, which helped her scoop an unparalleled five awards at the 50th Grammies.

Belgium, now top, were 49th on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.

Salt Bae was working for free in a butcher’s and a restaurant in Argentina. Already in debt, he’d taken a loan to pay for a flight and support himself while learning the ropes in the carnivore’s paradise.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – the last in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy-novel series – had just smashed the Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling fiction book in history.

Francesco Totti, despite playing the entire 2006/07 season with a metal pin in his ankle, was the European Golden Shoe holder, having pipped Afonso Alves to the award.

The late Steve Jobs unveiled the first Apple iPhone – colloquially known as iPhone 1 – to unprecedented fanfare.

The last-ever episode of The Sopranos aired in 2007. So, too, did the pilot episodes of Mad Men and The Big Bang Theory, which has gone on to smash records set by Cheers and Friends.

Jamie Vardy, almost 21, was working in a factory and earning an extra £30 a week to turn out for Stocksbridge Park Steels in the eighth tier of the English pyramid.

For the first time since Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet in 1986, three drivers had gone into the final Grand Prix of the season hoping to conquer the Formula One World Championship. Kimi Raikkonen, who started out third, dramatically pipped both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to glory.

Netflix had just begun its metamorphosis from DVD-rental company into the streaming titan it is today.

Lyon, Inter Milan and Stuttgart were the reigning champions of France, Italy and Germany respectively.

I Am Legend, starring Will Smith, was released three days earlier. The highest-grossing films of the year were Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Spider-Man 3.

‘Onesies’ were exploding in popularity due to the likes of Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Katy Perry and Rihanna.

Fernando Torres’s transfer from Atletico Madrid to Liverpool made him the costliest footballer of 2007, while Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Hernan Crespo were the three most-expensive players in history.

Asafa Powell (100 metres), Michael Johnson (200 and 400) and Wilson Kipketer (800) were world-record holders. Those records now belong to Usain Bolt (100 and 200), Wayde van Niekerk (400) and David Rudisha (800).

Lais Ribeiro was pregnant, broke and struggling to study to become a nurse. The Victoria’s Secret Angel was discovered by a modelling agent within a year of giving birth and been one of the world’s most famous supermodels throughout this decade.

Mia Hamm of USA at Sweden 1995
© imago

Mia Hamm was the 158-goal leading markswoman in women’s international football. She held the record from 1999 to 2013, when Abby Wambach broke it.

Food grown in space had never been eaten – a fact vanquished when NASA astronaut Scott Kelly consumed lettuce.

Sky Brown, who is extraordinarily ninth on the Olympic World Skateboarding Ranking, wasn’t even born.

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