Lionel Messi won the Best FIFA men's player prize for 2022 on the back of his World Cup triumph with Argentina and Spain's Alexia Putellas retained the women's award at the FIFA Best Awards ceremonies in Paris.
Messi beat his Paris Saint-Germain teammate, and World Cup final rival, Kylian Mbappe, with Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema having been the other contender to claim the prize.
It is the second time that Messi has won the honor inaugurated by FIFA in 2016 after FIFA's split from Ballon d'Or organizer France Football.
The award, which is voted for by national team coaches and captains, journalists and also fans, recognizes a year in which the former Barcelona star crowned his glorious career by leading Argentina to victory at the World Cup.
Messi scored twice in an epic final in Doha as Argentina beat France on penalties despite Mbappe netting a hat-trick for Les Bleus in a remarkable 3-3 draw.
He also claimed the World' Cup's Golden Ball for the best player at the tournament, although Mbappe was the top scorer with eight goals, one more than Messi.
"This year was just mad for me, to be able to achieve my dream that I had fought so hard for. In the end I got it and it was the most beautiful thing that has happened in my career," Messi said of his World Cup win as he collected his award. "It is a dream for every footballer but something that very few can make come true," added Messi, who was sat in the Paris theater in between Mbappe and his wife Antonella Roccuzzo.
He took the prize just 24 hours after combining with Mbappe to lead PSG to a 3-0 win against Marseille in Ligue 1. The 35-year-old, a seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, succeeds Polish star Robert Lewandowski on the FIFA honors list.
Putellas retained the women's prize despite spending the second half of last year out injured. The 29-year-old Spaniard beat Alex Morgan and England's European Championship-winning striker Beth Mead to add the FIFA crown to the Ballon d'Or, which she has also won two years running.
Putellas is currently recovering from a serious knee injury suffered last July that ruled her out of the Euro in England with Spain. Prior to that, she had scored 11 goals on Barcelona's run to the Champions League final, which they lost to Lyon.
Putellas has previously said she hopes to return from injury in time to play again this season, but it remains to be seen whether she will feature for Spain at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in July and August.
Argentina's World Cup win in Qatar was also recognized as Lionel Scaloni claimed the men's coach's honor and Emiliano Martinez was named the best male goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, England's European Championship victory helped its Dutch manager Sarina Wiegman win the prize for best women's coach, while Mary Earps was named the women's goalkeeper of the year.
Polish amputee player Marcin Oleksy took the Puskas Award for best goal, named after Hungary great Ferenc Puskas.
© Agence France-Presse
Messi winning after leading Argentina to a world championship is not unexpected, but a women winning after being out injured since July and whose team finished second to Lyon is unexpected. Apparently this is more about name recognition than accomplishments.
messy winning this award over Mbappe is so wrong!
When Messi first went to PSG I watched several matches to compare how Mbappe, Messi, and Neymar played. The short answer was the three of them are a nightmare for the opponents. Mbappe, however, was one of the worse passers on the team and of very limited use. Neymar was far more dangerous and Messi adapted his play to be whatever the team needed. When Mbappe was not playing, the team was just as effective without him.
I am not saying that Mbappe isn't terrifying CBs when he is running at them. He is very good at what he does, just that he doesn't do much else. When he is playing for France, things are probably a lot easier for him since he is the focal point of the attack.