Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, 23, from Manchester City, emerges as the favorite to win The Best award, from FIFA (International Football Federation), which chooses the best football player of the season. The awards ceremony takes place this Monday (15), in London, at 4:30 pm (Brasília time), broadcast on the FIFA website and the Fifa+ streaming platform.
One of the main names of the dominant English club led by Pep Guardiola, the center forward who combines speed, strength and precision was a key player in winning the triple crown: English Championship, FA Cup and the unprecedented Champions League.
In the running against the Norwegian is the Argentine Lionel Messi, voted the best in the world seven times by FIFA, and the Frenchman Kylian Mbappé. Although the competition is strong, the calendar considered for the FIFA awards weighs in favor of the Norwegian sensation.
To choose the best of the season, the jury — made up of national team captains and coaches, journalists and fans — must consider the period from December 19, 2022 (the day after the Qatar World Cup final) to August 20, 2023 .
Signed by the Manchester team in July 2022 after a successful spell at Borussia Dortmund, Haaland broke the record for goals in a Premier League edition in his first appearance in the championship. The striker found the net 36 times in 35 games in the 2022/23 season, averaging more than one goal per match.
Another record was broken by him in November, when he reached 50 goals in English after 48 matches. The mark belonged to Andrew Cole, who took 65 games to reach the same mark in the 1990s, when he played for Manchester United.
Haaland also stood out in the Champions League. He was the top scorer in Europe’s main competition for the second year in a row, with 12 goals in 11 games, and fulfilled his mission of lifting the only trophy missing from City’s trophy cabinet.
In the same period, Messi and Mbappé fell with Paris Saint-Germain still in the round of 16 of the Champions League, against Bayern Munich. In the French Cup, defeat at the same stage, against Olympique de Marseille.
The duo’s main achievement during the period was the French Championship cup. Mbappé was the top scorer, with 29 goals and six assists in 34 games. The performance earned him the award for best player in Ligue 1 for the fourth time in a row.
The Argentine star scored 16 times and provided 16 assists in 32 matches during PSG’s victorious campaign. Afterwards, he left the French capital to join Inter Miami in a lower league in the United States. He soon led David Beckham’s club to its first title, becoming the record holder for cups in football, tied with Daniel Alves.
Messi reached the milestone of one hundred goals for Argentina, in a friendly against Curaçao. He also led the team in the 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign, with five wins in six games and the lead in the league table.
For France, Mbappé scored nine goals in eight matches in the campaign that guaranteed selection in the European Championship, which will take place between June 14 and July 14, in Germany. In the game against the Netherlands that confirmed French participation, the striker reached 42 goals for France and surpassed Michel Platini, becoming the country’s fourth highest scorer.
Ederson competes as best goalkeeper; Brazil also competes for the most beautiful goal
Brazil is present at The Best with goalkeeper Ederson, from Manchester City and the Brazilian team. The archer competes for the award with Belgian Thibaut Courtois, from Real Madrid, and Moroccan Yassine Bounou, from Al Hilal.
The undisputed starter of the multi-champion team led by Guardiola, Ederson was missed 32 times in 35 matches in the Premier League and came second in the Ballon d’Or award, from France Football magazine, losing the race to Argentine world champion Emiliano Martínez, from Aston Villa — Unlike the FIFA award, the Ballon d’Or considered the Qatar Cup in the 2023 edition.
For the Madrid club, Courtois played a decisive role in winning the Copa del Rey of Spain in the final against Osasuna, while Bounou saved two penalty kicks to secure the Europa League title for Sevilla against Roma.
Brazil is also competing for the Puskás award, offered by FIFA to the scorer of the most beautiful goal of the season. The country’s candidate is midfielder Guilherme Madruga, from Botafogo-SP, who scored a great goal from outside the area against Novorizontino, in Series B of the Brazilian Championship.
World champions and Colombian jewel compete between women
Among women, the three finalists are midfielders Aitana Bonmatí and Jennifer Hermoso, standouts in Spain’s unprecedented title campaign at the 2023 World Cup, and Colombian striker Linda Caicedo.
Bonmatí is the favorite to win the award. She plays for Barcelona and also won the French Football Ballon d’Or. She was voted the best player at the World Cup and won her fourth Spanish league title and the Champions League with the Catalan club.
Hermoso, who played for Mexico’s Pachuca this season, scored three goals and provided two assists in Spain’s victorious campaign at the World Cup. The player ended up involved in a controversy when she was kissed during the World Cup award ceremony by the then president of the Spanish Federation, Luis Rubiales.
A young Colombian revelation, Caicedo is just 18 years old and plays for Real Madrid. At the World Cup, the striker helped Colombia advance to the quarterfinals. A goal scored against Germany was voted the most beautiful of the tournament.