Pep Guardiola Receiving the Best Men’s Coach Trophy of 2023, January 2024. Photo Courtesy of IMAGO/Sportimage

On January 15th, the annual Best FIFA Football ceremony was held in London to award the best players and coaches of 2023.This individual trophy is gaining more recognition instead of the Ballon d’Or, which is losing its power in the football industry. 

The results were controversial once again in the men’s Best player of the season, as it was last December when Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or.The Argentinian footballer was awarded the trophy of the Best, a back to back award since he won in 2022 following the victory of his team at the World Cup. His two opponents were, like for the Ballon d’Or, Mbappe and Haaland. Messi’s 2023 year was considered better than Haaland’s or Mbappe. The World Cup was not taken into consideration for the Best award, but was for the  Ballon d’Or, which is controversial for the fans. 

So what made Messi win this award? During his 2023 season Messi transferred from his club PSG to Inter Miami in the MLS. At PSG Messi  won the Ligue 1 (French League) but failed to pass the 16th of final in the Champions League. 

His transfer to David Beckham’s club helped to bring Inter Miami back to a good level, and the team began to win again. Unfortunately, Inter Miami lost during the playoffs of the MLS and saw its season end in November. On the contrary of the European Leagues, the MLS happens on the basis of a civil year (February to December), and if a team doesn’t make it to playoffs or lose during those, then the season is over earlier than December, when the finale of the MLS is hosted. 

This system was highly criticized when it came to the Best player of 2023 trophy given to Messi because of the few games he played for Miami since he signed in August and finished the season in November. In addition he got  injured in September, he did not even play 3 months with Inter Miami.  

Facing Messi,  Haaland won the Treble with Manchester City (Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League) in addition to the FIFA Club World Cup which he won in December with Manchester City. Haaland also broke individual goal records in the Premier League. Despite this, Messi still won the Best player of the 2023 year award.

Despite the controversy for the men’s best player award, the current holder of the women’s Ballon d’Or Aitana Bonmati, also won the Best feminine player of 2023, succeeding her teammate Alexia Putellas. For the best men’s goalkeeper, the award was given to Ederson, Manchester City’s keeper. Finally following the incredible season he had at the head of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola won the Best coach of a Men’s team award of 2023. He is now the only coach in history to win the treble with two different clubs, he won it the first time in the 2008/2009 season with FC Barcelona and made history again in 2023 with Manchester City. 

For the women’s team coach of the year, Sarina Wiegman, England’s coach, won over Jonathan Giraldez Barcelona women’s coach. She led her team to the finale of the World Cup, which she lost against the Spanish team. Her opponent, Giraldez had won the treble with his team and registered the first ever win of the Champions League with the feminine Barcelona team. 

With the Champions League, the Euro 2024, The Copa America and the Olympic Games, the next best players and coaches will have space to showcase their talent as a great summer is approaching.

Sophomore Agathe Vanmassenhove is the Sports Editor. Her email is