Barcelona’s Lionel Messi remonstrates with Referee Cuneyt Cakir after a challenge from Liverpool’s … [+]
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Lionel Messi has been named World Soccer’s Player of the Year, Jurgen Klopp Manager of the Year, and Liverpool Team of the Year for 2009. The winners were announced in World Soccer’s January edition that was published on Friday.
The prestigious publication is regarded as the English-language bible of the world’s game.
Player of the year
Messi won the award edging out Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk once again. These two have also finished 1-2 in the UEFA, FIFA FIFPro, and the Ballon d’Or Awards with Messi winning the latter three.
Messi has now won the World Soccer Award five times (2009, 2011, 2012, and 2015) and that matches the achievement of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo finished fourth in this year’s voting. Last year’s winner, Luka Modric, could do no better than forty-fourth in this year’s voting.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have provided the winner every year since 2009. The award was instituted in 1982 and the great Paolo Rossi was the first winner.
Messi received just 11 votes more than Virgil van Dijk (613 to 602) while Liverpool had five other players who finished in the top 20. Raheem Sterling was leading English-born player and he was tied for tenth spot.
The World Soccer Awards are not gender specific and the leading female vote-getter was Megan Rapinoe who finished twenty-first.
Manager of the Year
Jürgen Klopp won the Manger of the Year in a stroll. He polled 67 votes to Pep Guardiola’s 2 votes. The margin is quite phenomenal when you consider Manchester City, under Guardiola, became the first English team to complete the domestic treble of League, FA Cup and League (Carabao Cup).
Now, can the German, who has a five-year contract with Liverpool until the summer of 2024, complete back-to-back World Soccer wins to match Jose Mourinho (2004, 2005), and Alex Ferguson (2007, 2008)?
Klopp is the fourth German-born winner and deservedly joins some real heavyweights. Franz Beckenbauer (1990) and Joachim Low (2014) were recognized for winning the World Cup and Ottmar Hitzfeld was honored for Borussia Dortmund winning the 1997 UEFA Champions League.
Enzo Bearzot was the inaugural winner in 1982 and Didier Deschamps won the award in 2018.
Team of the Year
Liverpool finished miles ahead in the voting. The Champions League winners received 60 votes while the next closest received 3. Finishing right behind Liverpool were Manchester City, Ajax, and the United States World Cup-winning women’s national team, all with three votes.
Liverpool also lifted the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2019 and are charging to towards their first ever Premier League title and first top-flight title in three decades.
Liverpool last won the World Soccer award in 2005, and that was also the last time Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League. Liverpool’s other win was in 2001 when the club won the two English domestic Cups and the UEFA Cup.
Brazil won the first award in 1982 while France won twelve months ago.
You can find out at worldsoccer.com how each judge voted.