World Year Awards
As the year 2014 roles to a close, the festive period is over, and with many leagues in the middle of their winter breaks, there aren’t many things for a football fan to look forward too, apart from one event, the Player of the Year awards. With a grand total of six awards to be given out on New Year’s Day, there are plenty of winners. Join us here with live updates from Zürich in Switzerland and 6th of October City in Egypt for the African awards.
Team of the Year
We cross live to Zurich first for the first award of the evening – the announcement of Team of the Year. German Manuel Neuer, widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world, claims the number one jersey, with Bayern teammates David Alaba and Philipp Lahm claiming the left and right back positions respectively. Partnering them in defence is Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund and Vincent Kompany, who plays for Manchester City. The midfield consists of Spaniard Koke, who turns out for Atletico Madrid, and his partner is the teams surprise conclusion, Jack Wilshere – who is the first Englishman to be selected for the team since 2010, when Ashley Cole was selected in the left-back position. In the attacking three, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale play on the wings, with Chelsea’s Oscar in the number ten role. Barcelona’s Messi takes the striker birth.
The substitutes are also of high quality, with Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard of Chelsea, Thomas Müller and Javi Martinez of Bayern Munich, Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City, Neymar of Barcelona and Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint Germain making the bench.
African Player Awards
We now cross over to Egypt, as the unveiling of the African awards are revealed. Sayouba Mandé of Stabæk Fotball in Norway takes the Goalkeepers award, while Umaru Bangura takes first place in the defenders awards. The Sierra Leonean, who plays for Dinamo Minsk beat Clayton Daniels and Christopher Samba to the award. Former Arsenal player Chuks Aneke takes midfielder of the year award, with Valencia’s Sofiane Feghouli and Manchester City’s Yaya Touré left trailing in his wake. The African Striker of the Year goes to Yannik N’Djeng of ES Tunis in Tunisia takes the award, with Vincent Aboubakar, who plays for Porto and Katlego Mphela of the Kaizer Chiefs finishing second and third respectively.
European Golden Boy Award
The award for Europe’s best young player is next to be given out in Zürich, and it goes to Valencia’s Paco Alcácer. No one can argue that the award isn’t deserved, as the striker has been key to Valencia’s success in La Liga this year, netting a grand twenty-two goals in nineteen appearances so far. The awards have gone to people like Paul Pogba, Mario Götze and Sergio Agüero in the past, giving Alcácer some real confidence that he can go onto be one of the biggest stars in the game.
African Player of the Year
And now, we step up to the big awards. Manchester City’s Yaya Touré has been awarded the African Player of the Year, despite only coming third in the Midfielder of the Year award. With an average rating of 7.42 this year, he beat Valencia’s Sofiane Feghouli and Lokomotiv Moscow’s Mbark Boussoufa to the award, with the Algerian and Moroccan finishing second and third respectively. Touré, who was favourite for the award, has been a key player for Manchester City in the last calendar year, becoming the first midfielder since Frank Lampard to score twenty goals in one season on the way to Manchester City’s Premier League triumph.
World Player of the Year
And we back in Zürich, home of FIFA in Switzerland, for the main event of the evening. As the gold envelope with FIFA’s official seal holding it closed is passed to this year’s host, Layla Fernandez-Taylor of InTheStands magazine, the tension in the air is huge. There are three contenders for the award, with Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all hoping their name is read out. And the award goes to Cristiano Ronaldo. The twenty-nine year old winger, who had been favourite for the award, has collected it for the second time in a row, after impressing the voters with twenty-three goals in twenty-six appearances this season. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi will have to settle for second, with the Argentine not collecting another personal award, something that has come easy to him in the past. Third place goes to the Swede – Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who has scored an impressive nineteen league goals this season so far.
World Golden Ball
And the last award of the evening, and its arguably the biggest of them all. The World Golden Ball, or the Ballon O’dor as it is better known, is the one every player in the professional game wants to win. Inside the gold envelope is the name of the recipient of the award. The envelope is opened slowly, and a pause. Cristiano Ronaldo’s name is read out. The joy on this face is sensational. He fought off his main rival, Lionel Messi for the second year in a row, no mean feat, and the Argentine will have to settle for second place. Third place goes to Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero.
And that ladies and gentlemen, is all the awards for now. Join us next year for more awards!