The FIFA World Player of the Year was an association football award presented annually by the sport's governing body, FIFA, between 1991 and 2015 at the FIFA World Player Gala. Coaches and captains of international teams and media representatives selected the player they deem to have performed the best in the previous calendar year.
|FIFA World Player of the Year|
|Most awards|| Zinedine Zidane|
(3 awards each)
|Related||FIFA Ballon d'Or|
The Best FIFA Men's Player
|FIFA Women's World Player of the Year|
|Most awards||Marta (5 awards)|
|Related||The Best FIFA Women's Player|
Originally a single award for the world's best men's player, parallels awards for men and women were awarded from 2001 to 2009. The men's award was subsumed into the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010 while the women's award remained until 2015. After 2015 both men's and women's awards became part of The Best FIFA Football Awards.
During the men's era, Brazilian players won 8 out of 19 years, compared to three wins – the second most – for French players. In terms of individual players, Brazil again led with five, followed by Italy and Portugal with two each. The youngest winner was Ronaldo, who won at 20 years old in 1996, and the oldest winner was Fabio Cannavaro, who won aged 33 in 2006. Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane each won the award three times, while Ronaldo and Ronaldinho were the only players to win in successive years. From 2010 to 2015, the equivalent men's award was the FIFA Ballon d'Or, following a merging of the FIFA World Player of the Year and the France Football Ballon d'Or awards. Since 2016, the awards have been replaced by The Best FIFA Men's Player and The Best FIFA Women's Player awards.
Eight women's footballers – three Germans, three Americans, one Brazilian, and one Japanese – have won the award. Marta, the youngest recipient at age 20 in 2006, has won five successive awards, the most of any player. Birgit Prinz won three times in a row and Mia Hamm won twice in a row. The oldest winner is Nadine Angerer, who was 35 when she won in 2013; she is also the only goalkeeper of either sex to win.
Voting and selection processEdit
The winners are chosen by the coaches and captains of national teams as well as by international media representatives invited by FIFA. In a voting system based on positional voting, each voter is allotted three votes, worth five points, three points and one point, and the three finalists are ordered based on total number of points. Following criticism from some sections of the media over nominations in previous years, FIFA has since 2004 provided shortlists from which its voters can select their choices.
FIFA World Player of the YearEdit
From 2010 to 2015, the award was merged with the Ballon d'Or to become the FIFA Ballon d'Or in a six-year partnership with France Football. In 2016, FIFA rebranded the award as The Best FIFA Men's Player.
A single article from the Portuguese magazine A Bola reporting about the 1992 award mentions the former award winners Lothar Matthäus in 1991, but also Diego Maradona in 1990. There is no other evidence of the award being presented by FIFA prior to 1991.
Wins by playerEdit
|Zinedine Zidane||3 (1998, 2000, 2003)||1 (2006)||2 (1997, 2002)|
|Ronaldo||3 (1996, 1997, 2002)||1 (1998)||1 (2003)|
|Ronaldinho||2 (2004, 2005)||—||1 (2006)|
|Lionel Messi||1 (2009)||2 (2007, 2008)||—|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||1 (2008)||1 (2009)||1 (2007)|
|Luís Figo||1 (2001)||1 (2000)||—|
|Romário||1 (1994)||1 (1993)||—|
|George Weah||1 (1995)||1 (1996)||—|
|Roberto Baggio||1 (1993)||—||1 (1994)|
|Rivaldo||1 (1999)||—||1 (2000)|
|Lothar Matthäus||1 (1991)||—||—|
|Marco van Basten||1 (1992)||—||—|
|Fabio Cannavaro||1 (2006)||—||—|
Wins by countryEdit
Wins by clubEdit
FIFA Women's World Player of the YearEdit
In 2016, FIFA created The Best FIFA Women's Player award instead.
Wins by playerEdit
|Marta||5 (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)||4 (2005, 2011, 2012, 2014)||2 (2004, 2013)|
|Birgit Prinz||3 (2003, 2004, 2005)||5 (2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)||—|
|Mia Hamm||2 (2001, 2002)||2 (2003, 2004)||—|
|Abby Wambach||1 (2012)||1 (2013)||2 (2011, 2014)|
|Homare Sawa||1 (2011)||—||—|
|Nadine Angerer||1 (2013)||—||—|
|Nadine Keßler||1 (2014)||—||—|
|Carli Lloyd||1 (2015)||—||—|
Wins by countryEdit
Wins by clubEdit
|1. FFC Frankfurt||1||3|
|INAC Kobe Leonessa||1||1|
- ^ Romário was signed by Barcelona from PSV Eindhoven midway through 1993.
- ^ Bergkamp was signed by Inter Milan from Ajax midway through 1993.
- ^ Weah was signed by Milan from Paris Saint-Germain midway through 1995.
- ^ Klinsmann was signed by Bayern Munich from Tottenham Hotspur midway through 1995.
- ^ Ronaldo was signed by Barcelona from PSV Eindhoven midway through 1996.
- ^ Shearer was signed by Newcastle United from Blackburn Rovers midway through 1996.
- ^ Ronaldo was signed by Inter Milan from Barcelona midway through 1997.
- ^ Figo was signed by Real Madrid from Barcelona midway through 2000.
- ^ Ronaldo was signed by Real Madrid from Inter Milan midway through 2002.
- ^ Cannavaro was signed by Real Madrid from Juventus midway through 2006.
- ^ Cristiano Ronaldo was signed by Real Madrid from Manchester United midway through 2009.
- ^ Cristiane was signed by Corinthians from Linköpings F.C. midway through 2008.
- ^ Marta was signed by Santos from Los Angeles Sol midway through 2009.
- ^ Smith was signed by Boston Breakers from Arsenal Ladies midway through 2009.
- ^ Marta was signed by Western New York Flash from Santos midway through 2011.
- ^ Angerer was signed by Brisbane Roar from 1. FFC Frankfurt midway through 2013.
- ^ Marta was signed by FC Rosengård from Tyresö FF midway through 2014.
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- ^ "Brazil legend Ronaldo retires from football". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- ^ "Cannavaro discusses highs and lows". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- ^ "The FIFA Ballon d'Or is born". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
- ^ "FIFA Ballon d'Or World Player of the Year: Award History". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 5 November 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
- ^ "The birth of The Best FIFA Football Awards". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on November 5, 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- ^ "Messi, Lloyd, Luis Enrique and Ellis triumph at FIFA Ballon d'Or 2015". FIFA. 12 January 2016. Archived from the original on January 12, 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
- ^ "Thirty-five stars make Zurich shortlist". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
- ^ "Guerin Sportivo World Player of the Year awards 1979-1986". BigSoccer Forum. Retrieved 2023-02-13.