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Lionel Messi beats Mbappe, Benzema to land FIFA’s best men’s player award

Last updated: 28 Feb 2023
Moti Prakash 28 Feb 2023
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  • Lionel Messi was named FIFA’s best men’s player for 2022
  • It was the second time in his career he has won the award
  • Messi beat off competition from Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland and Karim Benzema
lionel messi
Lionel Messi poses on stage after receiving the Best FIFA Mens Player award (Getty Images)

Argentine legend Lionel Messi won the FIFA best men’s player award on Monday for the second time in his career. 

Messi had some fierce competition in Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, and Karim Benzema, but his 2022 FIFA World Cup heroics gave him the edge.  

Benzema had won last year’s Ballon d’Or award for his excellent league and champions league campaign with Real Madrid, but he couldn’t participate in the World Cup due to an injury. 

Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe would’ve certainly won this award had France won the World Cup – he was the tournament’s top scorer with eight goals and scored a memorable hat-trick in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final. 

Elsewhere, Manchester City’s Erling Haaland looks set to smash the Premier League goalscoring record in a 38-game season. 

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah scored 32 goals in the 2017/18 season, and Haaland is currently on 27 with 13 games to play. 

However, a World Cup triumph tends to eclipse every other achievement in a football season, and Argentina couldn’t have done it without Lionel Messi. 

Messi registered seven goals and three assists in the tournament, with two coming in the final. He has also recently elevated himself as a leader, a quality his critics suggested he lacked in his early years. 

Messi was considered the greatest player to kick a ball even before the 2022 FIFA World Cup – the win enhanced his incredible legacy. 

The debate regarding the greatest will rage on, but there was no doubt that he would win the FIFA best men’s player award this year. 

The World Cup was the one piece of silverware missing from his trophy cabinet, and he alluded to that in his speech. 

"I achieved the dream I had been hoping for so long. Very few people can achieve that, and I have been lucky to do so," he said. 

Messi has also enjoyed a good season at Paris Saint-Germain, but they’ve got a tough round-of-16 second-leg against Bayern Munich – the Bavarians are currently leading the tie 1-0.

Messi was expected to retire from the national side following his World Cup triumph, but it looks like he will take some time before making that decision. He still has a lot to offer, and there isn’t someone with his qualities in the national squad currently. 

Messi isn’t the all-action dribbler, playmaker, and goalscorer of yesteryear. He has lost a yard of pace and tends to play in moments now. 

He often goes missing in games but delivers a vital contribution when his team needs it the most. As long as he does that, he’ll be in the running for the most significant awards. 

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