The voting for Fifa’s ‘The Best’ awards ceremony have been revealed and, as ever, it makes for fascinating reading
Football might not have quite come home this summer, but it came pretty close.
As we skip autumn and move straight into winter, as is tradition, that glorious World Cup summer seems so far away.
Thankfully, though, we were served a timely reminder of that time of the year with FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards ceremony.
The award has broken off from France Football’s Ballon d’Or award, with Cristiano Ronaldo winning the first two editions of the men’s award, but this year’s ceremony saw Luka Modrić pip his former Real Madrid teammate to the title after Croatia’s run to the final - at the expense of England.
What’s more important, though, is that every international manager and captain was handed a vote - and Harry Kane showed he knows what the people want with his choices.
The World Cup Golden Boot winner’s votes for the best player and manager in the world have been made public, and he has tugged on our heartstrings by naming England manager and our collective dad Gareth Southgate as his coach of the year.
Southgate was named among the top three choices by 35 players and coaches, including Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini among others, but Kane and former Chinese Taipei head coach Gary White (who is English) were the only two to put the England boss at number one.
Estonia captain Ragnar Klavan put Southgate at number three, ahead of his own club manager Jürgen Klopp, though he was perhaps justified in that choice after Klopp started him just four times in 2018 and sold him to Cagliari over the summer.
Kane’s other picks for manager of the year were World Cup winner Didier Deschamps and Premier League champion Pep Guardiola, and no doubt someone will find a way to spin this as a dig at Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.
He also named Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world, with Lionel Messi and Kevin de Bruyne close behind.
As for Southgate’s own choices, he gave Guardiola the win and graciously named Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić – the man who killed all of our dreams – as number two ahead of Deschamps. He’s not one to hold grudges, is our Gareth.
Meanwhile, Leo Messi was gracious enough to name his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo in third place (his top two going to Luka Modric and Kylian Mbappe), but old Ronny declined to return the favour, plumping for Raphael Varane, Luka Modric and Antoine Griezmann. Classic Ronaldo, petty to the last.
You can find out who all the coaches and captains voted for here. Spoiler alert: St Lucia coach Francis Lastic has gone big.