Cristiano Ronaldo, 34, of Portugal, Lionel Messi, 32, of Argentina and Virgil van Dijk, 28, of the Netherlands are the three finalists for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award in 2019. Recently, retired sprinter Usain Bolt, 33, of Jamaica was asked who among the three deserves the award.
“All three are wonderful players,” Bolt said of Ronaldo, Messi and van Dijk in an interview with FIFA. “I think Messi and Ronaldo have won this award five times each.”
Indeed, Ronaldo won the award in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017 while Messi was the winner in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. Van Dijk has yet to receive the award.
Bolt had considered pursuing a career in football but he has given it up. He explained that “it was difficult to dedicate the time required to make it a success professionally” but he would continue playing at celebrity and charity events like Soccer Aid.
“Van Dijk just won the UEFA Award and based on the success of Liverpool last season it may be his turn,” Bolt said. “As a Manchester United fan, I would probably vote for Ronaldo.”
To choose The Best FIFA Men’s Player, a panel of men’s football experts compiled the achievements of footballers from July 16, 2018 to July 19, 2019 and came up with a shortlist. Eden Hazard, 28, of Belgium, Frenkie de Jong, 22, of the Netherlands, Harry Kane, 26, of England, Matthijs de Ligt, 20, of the Netherlands, Sadio Mane, 27, of Senegal, Kylan Mbappe, 20, of France and Mohamed Salah, 27, of Egypt were also shortlisted.
From the shortlist, journalists, fans, national team coaches and captains cast their votes from July 31, 2019 to August 19, 2019. Ronaldo, Messi and van Dijk were announced as the three finalists at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy on September 2, 2019.
On September 23, 2019, the newest recipient of The Best FIFA Men’s Player award will be announced at The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 ceremony at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Meanwhile, here is Bolt explaining why stopped running track: