Herbert says FIFA Best Football awards were ‘an amazing experience’

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Former All Whites and Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has returned to his Cambridge home after a hectic trip to the world’s biggest football awards night in Milan, Italy.

Herbert, the founder of the Ricki Herbert Football Academy, was a guest of FIFA at the world body’s annual Best Football awards.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Herbert. “Many of the world’s greatest players, past and present, were there and it was humbling to be part of it.”

Main photo (above): Herbert with former England international Sol Campbell at the awards.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won the best men’s player award while United States captain Megan Rapinoe took the best women’s player award.

The Teatro alla Scala, venue for the awards.


Herbert was one of a panel of 10 international football experts asked by FIFA to produce the shortlist of contenders for the best men’s player award, from which the winners were chosen by current national coaches and captains. The men’s award has replaced the Ballon d’Or which merged with the FIFA award four years ago.

The shortlist of best men’s players chosen by Herbert and fellow judges included Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Liverpool pair Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.

Click here to see how the awards for best players and coaches in the world are chosen

Herbert was reunited with Italian international Marco Materazzi. The pair coached rival teams in the Indian Premier League.

Other members of the selection panel included former England and Russia manager Fabio Capello, former Brazilian international Kaka, German World Cup winner Lothar Matthäus and Spanish legend Xavi.

Herbert has helped FIFA in a number of roles since stepping down as All Whites coach in 2013.

He was a member of FIFA’s Technical Study Group at the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil and he’s since performed similar work for the U-17 and U-20 World Cups.

Award winners

The following awards were announced at the event:

Men’s Player: Lionel Messi

Women’s Player: Megan Rapinoe

Men’s Coach: Jurgen Klopp

Women’s Coach: Jill Ellis

Women’s Goalkeeper: Alisson

Women’s Goalkeeper: Sari van Veenendaal

Puskás Award: Daniel Zsori

Fan Award: Silvia Grecco

Fair Play Award: Marcelo Bielsa

Men’s World 11: Alisson; Matthijs de Ligt, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Virgil van Dijk; Frenkie de Jong, Eden Hazard, Luka Modric; Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi

Women’s World 11: Sari van Veenendaal; Lucy Bronze, Nilla Fischer, Kelley O’Hara, Wendie Renard; Julie Ertz, Amandine Henry, Rose Lavelle; Marta, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe