Lionel Messi, FIFA The Best
Lionel Messi at the 2022 FIFA The Best Awards, where he was named men's player of the year. Sarah Meyssonnier/REUTERS

ALABAMA - For a second straight year and third time in his career, Inter Miami star Lionel Messi was crowned as the FIFA The Best Men's Player. The Argentine finished tied on points (48) with Norway's Erling Haaland but came out on top thanks to having more first-place votes than the Manchester City striker. Frenchman and former PSG teammate Kylian Mbappé finished in third place.

After another successful year, in which he helped his new team Inter Miami win their first-ever trophy, Messi has now been the recipient of the award in consecutive years, something only Cristiano Ronaldo (2016-17) accomplished since the creation of the award in 2016.

All three finalists were also included in this year's FIFPRO Men's World XI. Real Madrid's Brazilian star Vinícius Júnior also made the cut for this year's best XI. Treble winners Manchester City dominated the team this year, with six out of the 11 players coming from the English champions.

Other Latinos recognized

A Latin American goalkeeper was named as the FIFA The Best Men's Goalkeeper in the world for the third time: Manchester City's Ederson was the recipient of this year's award, becoming just the second Brazilian goalkeeper to win it after Alisson Becker did so in 2019. Argentina's Emiliano Martínez finished first in last year's gala thanks to his 2022 World Cup performances.

This year's Puskás Award winner is also from Latin America. Brazilian midfielder Guilherme Madruga's overhead kick was enough to beat fellow South American Julio Enciso and Sporting's Nuno Santos. Madruga is the 5th different player from Latin America to win the award, joining Neymar (2011), James Rodríguez (2014), Wendell Lira (2015) and Erik Lamela (2021).

The Brazilian men's national team were recognized with the FIFA Fair Play Award thanks to their efforts in taking a stand against racism. In a friendly against Guinea in June 2023, the 'Verdeamarelha' swapped their traditional yellow jerseys for an all-black version in solidarity to teammate Vinícius Júnior, who had been subjected to racist abuse while in action for Real Madrid.

Vinicius Junior, Brazil
Vinícius Júnior during Brazil's friendly game vs Guinea in June 2023. Alex Caparros/Getty Images

For this year's FIFA Fan Award, Argentine Hugo Daniel Iñiguez took home the hardware after the Colón de Santa Fé fan went viral as he was seen feeding his son during an Argentine Primera Division game against Barracas Central in May 2023.

On the women's side, Colombia's Linda Caicedo finished second in voting for the FIFA The Best Women's Player won by Spain's Aitana Bonmatí. The young Colombian striker helped her country to a dream run in last year's Women's World Cup, reaching the Quarterfinals and defeating teams such as Germany in the process.

Brazilian soccer star Marta was also recognized in this year's event by receiving the FIFA Special Award for her outstanding accomplishments throughout her career.

The six-time FIFA World Player of the Year/The Best FIFA Women's Player, five of them consecutive between 2006 and 2010, will also have her name immortalized in next year's gala, with the introduction of the Marta Award, set to recognize the most spectacular goal in women's soccer during the year.

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