Open main menu

IHF World Player of the Year

The IHF World Player of the Year is a handball award given annually to the player who is considered to have performed the best in the previous season, both at club and international competitions. It is awarded based on votes from experts, media and fans.

IHF World Player of the Year
CompetitionInternational Handball
Given forBest Performance in International Handball Competitions
First award1988
Most winsRomania Cristina Neagu
(4 awards)
Most recentMen: Mikkel Hansen (3rd title)
Women: Cristina Neagu (4th title)


The award was awarded by IHF since 1988 in both Men's and Women's Category separately.

No award was awarded in the years 1991, 1992, 1993 and 2017.[1][2]


Year Winner Country Position Ref.
1988 Veselin Vujović   Yugoslavia Left back
1989 Kang Jae-Won   South Korea Right back
1990 Magnus Wislander   Sweden Center back
1991 No vote
1994 Talant Dujshebaev   Russia Centre back
1995 Jackson Richardson   France Centre back
1996 Talant Dujshebaev (2)   Spain Centre back
1997 Stéphane Stoecklin   France Right back
1998 Daniel Stephan   Germany Left back
1999 Rafael Guijosa   Spain Left wing
2000 Dragan Škrbić   Yugoslavia Line player
2001 Yoon Kyung-Shin   South Korea Right back
2002 Bertrand Gille   France Line player
2003 Ivano Balić   Croatia Centre back
2004 Henning Fritz   Germany Goalkeeper
2005 Arpad Šterbik   Serbia and Montenegro Goalkeeper
2006 Ivano Balić (2)   Croatia Centre back
2007 Nikola Karabatić   France Centre back
2008 Thierry Omeyer   France Goalkeeper [3]
2009 Sławomir Szmal   Poland Goalkeeper [4]
2010 Filip Jícha   Czech Republic Left back [5]
2011 Mikkel Hansen   Denmark Left back [6]
2012 Daniel Narcisse   France Centre back [7]
2013 Domagoj Duvnjak   Croatia Centre back
2014 Nikola Karabatić (2)   France Centre back
2015 Mikkel Hansen (2)   Denmark Left back
2016 Nikola Karabatić (3)   France Centre back
2017 Not awarded
2018 Mikkel Hansen (3)   Denmark Left back [8]


Year Winner Country Position
1988 Svetlana Kitić   Yugoslavia Centre back
1989 Kim Hyun-Mee   South Korea
1990 Jasna Kolar-Merdan   Austria Left back
1991 No vote
1994 Mia Hermansson   Sweden Centre back
1995 Erzsébet Kocsis   Hungary Line player
1996 Lim O-Kyeong   South Korea Centre back
1997 Anja Andersen   Denmark Left back
1998 Trine Haltvik   Norway Centre back
1999 Ausra Fridrikas   Austria Left back
2000 Bojana Radulović   Hungary Right back
2001 Cecilie Leganger   Norway Goalkeeper
2002 Zhai Chao   China Centre back
2003 Bojana Radulović (2)   Hungary Right back
2004 Anita Kulcsár   Hungary Line player
2005 Anita Görbicz   Hungary Centre back
2006 Nadine Krause   Germany Left back
2007 Gro Hammerseng   Norway Centre back
2008 Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth[9]   Norway Right wing
2009 Allison Pineau[10]   France Centre back
2010 Cristina Neagu[5]   Romania Left back
2011 Heidi Løke[6]   Norway Line player
2012 Alexandra do Nascimento[7]   Brazil Right wing
2013 Andrea Lekić   Serbia Centre back
2014 Eduarda Amorim   Brazil Left back
2015 Cristina Neagu (2)   Romania Left back
2016 Cristina Neagu (3)   Romania Left back
2017 Not awarded
2018 Cristina Neagu[8] (4)   Romania Left back

Previous awardsEdit

While the IHF has only reported awards since 1988, other players have been voted best players in the world before.

Thus, the Romanian Ștefan Birtalan was elected World Player of the Year in 1974, 1976 and 1977.[11] And Ioan Moser of Romania was also named "Best Handball Player in the World” in 1964.[12]

Best players of all timeEdit

In 1992, Gheorghe Gruia of Romania was named Best Player of All Time by the International Handball Federation.[13][14]

In 2000, the Swedish Magnus Wislander and the Ukrainian Zinaida Turchyna were elected Players of the 20th Century by the IHF.[15][16]

Additionally, in 2010 Ivano Balić of Croatia and Svetlana Kitić of Yugoslavia were voted by the website users the Best Players Ever, but they were not named directly by the IHF.[17][18]

Team of the centuryEdit

In 2000, the official bulletin of the International Handball Federation, World Handball Magazine, chose Gheorghe Gruia, Ioan Moser and Cornel Penu as members of the "Team of the Century".[19]

Other awardsEdit

In 2010, the fans voted Thierry Omeyer as world's best goalkeeper ever.[20] And in 2011, the fans voted for Luminița Dinu (born Huțupan) as best female goalkeeper ever.[21]

Previously in 2009, Steffen Fäth and Cristina Neagu respectively won Rookie of the Year award for male and female.[22]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Bad luck for Andy Schmid: the election of the world handball player fails". NewsBeezer. 17 June 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Overview: previous world handball player of the year – both male and female". handball-world. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Player of the Year – Men 2008". IHF. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Player of the Year – Men 2009". IHF. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Neagu and Jicha World Handball Players of the Year 2010". IHF. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Heidi Løke and Mikkel Hansen World Handball Players of the Year 2011". International Handball Federation. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Alexandra do Nascimento and Daniel Narcisse are GRUNDFOS World Handball Players of the Year 2012". International Handball Federation. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Neagu and Hansen named 2018 World Players of the Year". International Handball Federation. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Player of the Year – Women 2008". IHF. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Player of the Year – Women 2009". IHF. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  11. ^ "HANDBALL LEGEND AMAZED BY CL FINAL". Archived from the original on 11 August 2017. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Einst verfemt, jetzt Ehrenbürger" (in German). Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Handball World Mourns the Loss of Icon, Friend & Teacher". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Gheorghe Gruia: La zurda rumana que dominó el mundo" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  15. ^ "Wislander "Welt-Handballer des Jahrhunderts"" (in German). Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Турчина — лучшая гандболистка века" (in Russian). Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  17. ^ Ivano Balic voted best male player ever
  18. ^ Svetlana Kitic voted best female player ever
  19. ^ "Geschichten rund um den Handball in Siebenbürgen (XIV)" (in German). Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  20. ^ Voting of the IHF users: Omeyer world’s best goalkeeper
  21. ^ Fans vote for Luminita Dinu as best female goalkeeper ever
  22. ^ Neagu, “World’s best Rookie of the Year 2009”

External linksEdit