The stars were out on Monday night for the inaugural The Best FIFA Awards™ in Zurich, the first since the global body announced the end of its six-year association with France Football magazine’s Ballon d’Or last December.
The Awards are voted for by fans alongside selected journalists, national team coaches and captains. Unsurprisingly Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was voted the Men’s Player of the Year, while Claudio Ranieri’s historic climb to the summit of the Premier League with Leicester City last term saw him take home Best Men’s Manager.
However, a breakdown of the voting revealed that Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, as captain of the England national squad, named Jürgen Klopp, manager of bitter rivals Liverpool on his list of coach of the year, snubbing his own boss in José Mourinho in the process.
These votes tend to be largely symbolic in nature, often with people voting for their teammates and fellow countrymen, for example, Wales manager Chris Coleman nominating Gareth Bale for Player of the Year. It is therefore some surprise that the former Evertonian moved beyond the enduring enmity between these two arch-rival clubs, let alone what it will do to Mourinho’s frail ego.