Now that the ten-man shortlist for The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2019 has been unveiled, it’s time for you to get involved and cast your vote. But it can be hard to do that with so many accomplished players to choose from.
We’ve compiled quotes and statistics about each player to help you navigate how you will vote. So, let’s get started.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2019 shortlist | Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus, Portugal), Frenkie de Jong (Ajax/Barcelona, Netherlands), Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax/Juventus, Netherlands), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Real Madrid, Belgium), Harry Kane (Tottenham, England), Sadio Mane (Liverpool, Senegal), Kylian Mbappe (PSG, France), Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentina), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, Egypt), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool, Netherlands)
Cristiano Ronaldo proved that he can shine in multiple top-tier leagues as he finished with the Serie A trophy and league player of the year award after his first season with Juventus. The Portuguese superstar also showed that he’s a leader at the national team level as well, winning the inaugural UEFA Nations League trophy for his country.
“He was the first person I saw employing a nutritionist, a doctor, a personal physio, a chef. He invested in himself to become the best in the world.”
– Rio Ferdinand told ITV
The stat: Ronaldo scored 22 goals and provided 11 assists in 33 matches across all domestic Italian competitions in his first season with Juventus.
FRENKIE DE JONG
Barcelona know they have a special player on their hands. De Jong helped Ajax to an Eredivisie and cup double last season, while being named the league’s best player, all at the age of 21. Now 22, the elegant Dutch midfielder is ready to embark on his first La Liga campaign.
“It’s important for Barça to have players like De Jong. With his talent, at his age, he could become a Xavi or an Iniesta. [Barcelona] have to bring through their own players and mix them with good players from elsewhere. De Jong’s not Messi, there’s only one [Messi]. But he’s a player that fits in really well at Barça. I’m excited to see him there next season.”
– Ajax Director of Football Marc Overmars, in an interview with VTV Uruguay
The stat: Over 6 UEFA Nations League matches, de Jong made 462 passes with a 93.3 per cent average pass completion rate and made 5 key passes, leading the Netherlands to the final where they were edged by Portugal. (Statistics from WhoScored.com).
MATTHIJS DE LIGT
Considered one of the best young defenders in world football, de Ligt is mature beyond his years. He led Ajax to a league and cup double and their first UEFA Champions League semi-final since 1997.
“I am similar to [Pique]. I like to carry the ball out from the back. Defensively I am strong and, like Gerard, I also started as a midfielder.”
– De Ligt told ELF Voetbal Magazine
The stat: Last season de Ligt became the first teenager with 10 Champions League starts in a single season since Cesc Fabregas for Arsenal in 2005/06.
One of the most dynamic wingers in the game, Hazard finished his Chelsea career by bringing them a UEFA Europa League title, while he finished the 2018/19 season as the club’s top goalscorer in all competitions.
“Hazard is the star of the future. He is very good and will get even better. I would bring him to Real Madrid with my eyes closed.”
– Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, in an interview with MARCA back in 2010
The stat: Hazard is one of just four players in Premier League history to both score and assist at least 15 goals in a single season. He scored 16 goals and assisted 15 in the 2018/19 season.
Chelsea Football Club
Kane continues to prove that he’s one of the top strikers in the game as he led Tottenham Hotspur to their first-ever UEFA Champions League final, while also scoring 17 goals in 28 Premier League matches last season.
“He’s the best goalscorer in the world, frankly. You always loathe to take someone of his ability off the pitch.”
– England manager Gareth Southgate
The stat: Kane has scored 17 goals in 20 appearances under Gareth Southgate for England.
The 2018/19 season was one of many highlights for Senegal star Sadio Mane, but the greatest achievements had to be winning the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and finishing as the Premier League’s joint-top goalscorer.
“Sadio is coming to an age where things are becoming more natural for him. He’s not having to convince people now. We all know that he’s a world-class player, and he has started realising that for himself.”
– Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
The stat: Mane finished the 2018/19 Premier League with the joint golden boot, scoring 22 goals in 36 appearances.
Winning the Ligue 1 player of the season award at the age of 20 tells you everything you need to know about the talent of Kylian Mbappe. The French prodigy also finished as Paris Saint-Germain’s top goalscorer in all competitions last season.
“When I saw him the first time in the first period, I said: ‘It’s Pele. He has a combination of pace, intelligence, relaxed attitude to deal with stress. You cannot give that to people.”
– Arsene Wenger in an interview with CNN
The stat: By the age of 20 years and five months, Mbappe took just 180 games to score his 100th goal in all competitions.
PSG – Paris Saint-Germain
One of the greatest players of all time, Messi picked up his tenth La Liga title in the 2018/19 season, and Barcelona’s eighth in 11 years.
“Messi reserves the first minutes of each match for interpretation. Then, as the game advances, he gets in little by little. But by now he knows perfectly where the rivals’ weaknesses are. During that time he ignores the ball and takes a walk around the opposition defence, fixing each man’s position in his head.”
– Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde reveals one of Messi’s secrets in an interview with The Financial Times
The stat: En route to winning La Liga, Messi scored 36 goals and recorded 13 assists in 34 matches to run away with the league’s top scorer award.
Salah’s crowning achievement of the past season was leading Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League title, while along with his team-mate Mane and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Egyptian finished as joint-top goalscorer in the Premier League. He won the award outright in 2017/18.
“His desire to score goals is at the highest level. He is angry at me when I take him off after 65 minutes or so. That’s the mentality you need.”
– Liverpool manager Klopp
The stat: Salah scored 27 goals in all competitions in 2018/19 as he led Liverpool to a Champions League trophy and the runners-up position in the Premier League.
VIRGIL VAN DIJK
Salah’s team-mate van Dijk had an immense impact on Liverpool’s successful 2018/2019 campaign, guiding them to the Champions League title, while the centre-back was also named PFA and Premier League player of the year.
“He reminds me very much of Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen back in the day. They made everything look simple and he is the same. Good players always improve too.”
– Sammy Lee, former assistant coach of Van Dijk’s at Southampton