Lionel Messi will not be wearing an Arabian robe like they did after the World Cup final this time. A freshly baked baguette or even a Gallic rooster as a French stereotype under the arm is not to be expected at the FIFA ceremony in Paris.
Messi can look forward to receiving the silver trophy as world footballer 2022, he finally has the golden World Cup trophy.
Messe, Mbappé or Benzema? messi
Anything other than a personal award for the Argentine world champion with the honor dubbed The Best by the world association would be a huge surprise - even an affront for Messi's fans. With the World Cup title in Qatar in the dramatic final against France, the 35-year-old not only gave the football year 2022 an electrifying end, but also crowned his extraordinary career. The personal FIFA award, in which the votes of fans, journalists and the coaches and captains of the national teams are counted in equal parts, is therefore logical.
Club-mate Kylian Mbappé of Paris Saint-Germain and his French compatriot Karim Benzema of Real Madrid will have to accept this as further among the top three nominated finalists. Messi will also have to share the limelight though. With the invitation of the dissident Iranian record national player Ali Daei (53), the gala gets a political touch.
The former Bundesliga professional from Bayern Munich, Arminia Bielefeld and Hertha BSC was recently not allowed to leave the country after his comments on the repressive government course in Iran. Daei and his family were pressured. That Daei will sit among the current heroes of world football in Paris is a signal that FIFA President Gianni Infantino really likes.
Hardly any German nominations
The German factor at The Best Gala is minimal. Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Kathrin Berger was the only one to make it into the top three in her category. The 32-year-old, who publicized another cancer last year, hardly has a chance of winning against England's Mary Earps (Manchester United) and Chile's Christiane Endler (Olympique Lyon). Other German vice European champions are missing in Paris.
The German men's football shines completely by absence - of course an aftermath of the World Cup disaster in Qatar. But the coaching honor with the award winners Jürgen Klopp (2019/2020) and Thomas Tuchel (2021) has been in German hands since 2019 and will be awarded elsewhere this time. Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid) and Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) will probably be able to congratulate Argentina's World Cup winner Lionel Scaloni.
What's next for Messi?
For Messi it is the umpteenth award in the hodgepodge of trophies since 2009 from Ballon d'Or (7x), World Footballer's Choice (1x) and FIFA's Best (1x) that FIFA and/or the specialist magazine "France Football " awarded.
It could be Messi's last personal trophy of this kind. Constant companions such as multiple winner Cristiano Ronaldo or last year's winner Robert Lewandowski are already absent due to a lack of resounding performances. In the gala hall, Messi's future after the contract expires in Paris in the summer will of course also be an issue.
Next PSG? Back to beloved Barcelona or to the USA? In order to become world footballer again, Messi would have to lead his club to a Champions League victory. In the week after the FIFA Gala, the second game at FC Bayern Munich is due after the 1-0 defeat in the round of 16 first leg.