Messi and Martens in running for FIFA ‘The Best’ accolades
London is the venue for the awards ceremony that gets going on Monday at 7.30pm CET, with two Barça players on the shortlist, one each in the men's and women's categories
The London Palladium is the venue for the second edition of The Best awards organised by FIFA. FC Barcelona will be well represented by both Leo Messi and Lieke Martens, who are in the running to collect the top prizes in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.
The Argentinian, whose chances will surely have been boosted by his stunning hat-trick in Quito to send his country to the Russia 2018 World Cup, is nevertheless up against stiff competition from former team-mate Neymar Jr and last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Meanwhile the Dutch midfielder, who was recently named UEFA Best Women's Player in Europe and joined FCB from FC Rosengård last summer after winning the European Championship with Holland, will be facing Venezuelan striker Deyna Castellanos and US icon Carli Lloyd.
The awards are based on votes cast by every national manager and captain in the world, plus a select group of journalists and an online vote among users of the FIFA website.
Team of the year
The ceremony will also feature the announcement of the FIFA FIFPro World XI, for which no fewer than eight Barça players are among the candidates: defenders Jordi Alba, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Piqué and Samuel Umtiti, midfielders Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta, and forwards Leo Messi and Luis Suárez.
There are nine categories in total, including men’s and women’s coach of the year, the Puskas Award for the best goal, and prizes for the best goalkeeper, the best supporters and for fair play.
Institutionally, FC Barcelona will be represented by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, along with the vice-president for sport Jordi Mestre, CEO Òscar Grau, sports manager for football Josep Segura, head of institutional and sporting relations Guillermo Amor and director of football Raul Sanllehí.