The international awards scene in football is a curious place, but it remains something footballers place importance on, as was seen during Karim Benzema’s Ballon d’Or award in 2022. However once again the results have led to some head-scratching.
Vinicius Junior is not part of the FIFA Best Awards, set to be decided this evening. Karim Benzema, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe stand out as favourites for the award, but the nominations did not include the Brazilian amongst the six best forwards in the world, as per Marca.
That is despite the fact Vinicius has undoubtedly been Real Madrid’s leading light this season, and along with Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois was one of the their stars last season too.
Along with Mbappe and Benzema, Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, Neymar Junior and Cristiano Ronaldo did make the cut. Particularly the last two, it is hard to make a case either statistically or in terms of the eye test for them to be ahead of Vinicius in the past year. Ronaldo was not even regarded as the best forward in the squad by Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.
Other representatives from Real Madrid include Fede Valverde, Courtois, Luka Modric and Antonio Rudiger, who won the Champions League with Chelsea last season. Barcelona midfielders Pedri and Gavi are also on the shortlist in their position. The award is selected by international captains, international managers and media representatives, but it is hard to look at these results and question the validity of such awards.