It has been 12 months since Cristiano Ronaldo once again won the Goal 50 prize, being named the top footballer in the world in 2017. However, since that history-making triumph, the football world has changed with the Portuguese superstar trading Real Madrid for Juventus and not even making the last eight at the World Cup.
France lifted the World Cup trophy in Russia, where Ronaldo’s great rival, Lionel Messi, also failed to reach the quarter-final stage. That allowed for a range of new names to take the spotlight, but Messi and Ronaldo continued to shine at club level, winning La Liga and the Champions League respectively. Those trophies saw Messi and Ronaldo pick up some individual club awards.
Madrid’s Champions League win was also good news for Luka Modric, who continued his excellent form at international level, with his performances for Croatia seeing him win the Golden Ball in Russia. Kylian Mbappe was the World Cup’s best young player and also was named European Golden Boy, as well as the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year for the second year running.
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WORLD AWARD WINNERS
Modric and Mbappe won the two biggest individual awards at the World Cup, with Thibaut Courtois finishing as the tournament’s top goalkeeper after helping Belgium to the semi-final. Belgium beat England in the third-place playoff, but the Three Lions did not go home empty handed as Harry Kane picked up the Golden Boot trophy.
Ronaldo’s phenomenal 2017 saw him add to his Goal 50 award by being named the Ballon d’Or winner, but his The Best crown went to Modric in 2018. Both players picked up trophies at the Club World Cup, while Mohamed Salah’s goal for Liverpool against Everton was voted the Puskas Award winner by the public.
|Goal 50||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid & Portugal|
|Ballon d’Or||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid & Portugal|
|The Best FIFA Men’s Player||Luka Modric||Real Madrid & Croatia|
|The Best FIFA Women’s Player||Marta||Orlando Pride & Brazil|
|World Cup Golden Ball||Luka Modric||Croatia|
|World Cup Golden Boot||Harry Kane||England|
|World Cup Golden Glove||Thibaut Courtois||Belgium|
|World Cup Best Young Player||Kylian Mbappe||France|
|World Cup Goal of the Tournament||Benjamin Pavard||France|
|FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball||Luka Modric||Real Madrid|
|FIFA Club World Cup Golden Boot||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|FIFA Puskas Award||Mohamed Salah||Liverpool|
EUROPEAN AWARD WINNERS
Messi’s goals propelled Barcelona to another Spanish league title, but also saw him finish as La Liga top scorer and the top scorer in all of Europe. However, Real Madrid’s Champions League exploits led to Modric being crowned UEFA’s Best Player in Europe while Ronaldo picked up the Golden Boot in continental competition.
Real Madrid recorded a clean sweep in the Champions League awards, with their players being named as best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward. Salah’s amazing season for Liverpool in the Premier League meant he was voted as the best player in England, while Neymar was named Ligue 1’s greatest despite missing a lot of PSG’s games.
|European Golden Shoe||Lionel Messi||Barcelona|
|UEFA Best Player in Europe||Luka Modric||Real Madrid|
|European Golden Boy||Kylian Mbappe||PSG & France|
|Champions League Golden Boot||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season||Keylor Navas||Real Madrid|
|Champions League Defender of the Season||Sergio Ramos||Real Madrid|
|Champions League Midfielder of the Season||Luka Modric||Real Madrid|
|Champions League Forward of the Season||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|Europa League Golden Boot||Ciro Immobile||Lazio|
|Europa League Player of the Season||Antoine Griezmann||Atletico Madrid|
|European U-19 Championship Top Scorer||Joao Filipe & Francisco Trincao||Portugal|
|European U-17 Championship Top Scorer||Yorbe Vertessen||Belgium|
|Bundesliga Golden Boot||Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich|
|Bundesliga Rookie of the Year||Amine Harit||Schalke|
|Eredivisie Footballer of the Year||Hakim Ziyech||Ajax|
|Eredivisie Young Player of the Year||Matthijs de Ligt||Ajax|
|Eredivisie Top Scorer||Alireza Jahanbakhsh||AZ|
|La Liga Best Goalkeeper||Jan Oblak||Atletico Madrid|
|La Liga Trofeo Pichichi||Lionel Messi||Barcelona|
|Ligue 1 Golden Boot||Edinson Cavani||PSG|
|Ligue 1 Player of the Year||Neymar||PSG|
|Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year||Steve Mandanda||Marseille|
|Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year||Kylian Mbappe||PSG|
|Primeira Liga Player of the Year||Bruno Fernandes||Sporting CP|
|Primeira Liga Breakthrough Player||Ruben Dias||Benfica|
|Primeira Liga Golden Boot||Jonas||Benfica|
|Premier League Golden Boot||Mohamed Salah||Liverpool|
|PFA Players’ Player of the Year||Mohamed Salah||Liverpool|
|PFA Players’ Young Player of the Year||Leroy Sane||Manchester City|
|Serie A Footballer of the Year||Gianluigi Buffon||Juventus|
|Serie A Capocannoniere||Ciro Immobile & Mauro Icardi||Lazio / Inter|
AFRICAN AWARD WINNERS
Halfway through his record-breaking season at Liverpool, Salah was named African Footballer of the Year, becoming the first Egyptian to win the award since Mahmoud El Khatib back in 1983.
Unlike the Africa Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championship is only for players who ply their trade in Africa. This year’s tournament was won by Morocco, with Ayoub El Kaabi breaking the tournament’s goalscoring record by scoring nine times on home soil. He won the Man of the Tournament and then earned a transfer to the Chinese Super League.
|African Footballer of the Year||Mohamed Salah||Liverpool & Egypt|
|CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year||Patson Daka||Liefering & Zambia|
|African Nations Championship Top Scorer||Ayoub El Kaabi||Morocco|
|African Nations Championship Man of the Tournament||Ayoub El Kaabi||Morocco|
|CAF Champions League Top Scorer||Hamid Ahaddad||Difaa El Jadidi|
|CAF Confederation Cup Top Scorer||Mahmoud Benhalib||Raja Casablanca|
ASIAN & OCEANIAN AWARD WINNERS
After being named Asian International Player of the Year, Son Heung-min helped South Korea to victory at the 2018 Asian Games, where team-mate Hwang Ui-jo finished as top scorer.
Syrian forward Omar Kharbin was named Asian Player of the Year following his domestic double with Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia.
Fijian side Lautoka surprised Oceania by reaching the OFC Champions League final, but were no match for New Zealand’s Team Wellington over two legs, with Angus Kilkolly scoring his eighth goal of the campaign to win the Golden Boot ahead of Auckland City’s Emiliano Tade.
|Asian Player of the Year||Omar Kharbin||Al-Hilal & Syria|
|Asian International Player of the Year||Son Heung-min||Tottenham & South Korea|
|Asian Young Player of the Year||Lee Seung-woo||Hellas Verona & South Korea|
|Asian Games Top Scorer||Hwang Ui-jo||South Korea|
|AFC Champions League Top Scorer||Baghdad Bounedjah||Al-Sadd|
|AFC Cup Top Scorer||An Il-bom||April 25|
|OFC Champions League Golden Ball||Roy Kayara||Team Wellington|
|OFC Champions League Golden Boot||Angus Kilkolly||Team Wellington|
|OFC Champions League Golden Glove||Enaut Zubikarai||Auckland City|
NORTH & CENTRAL AMERICAN AWARD WINNERS
With the United States missing out on World Cup qualification, Costa Rica’s exploits were rewarded as Keylor Navas was named the CONCACAF Player of the Year. The goalkeeper won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then played all three games for his country in Russia.
Italian striker Sebastian Giovinco was involved in 11 of Toronto FC’s goals as they reached the CONCACAF Champions League final, losing on penalties to Mexico’s Guadalajara on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate draw. Toronto’s Jonathan Osorio matched Giovinco’s tally of four goals scored to win the Golden Boot.
|CONCACAF Player of the Year||Keylor Navas||Real Madrid & Costa Rica|
|CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year||Keylor Navas||Real Madrid & Costa Rica|
|CONCACAF Champions League Golden Ball||Sebastian Giovinco||Toronto FC|
|CONCACAF Champions League Golden Boot||Jonathan Osorio||Toronto FC|
|CONCACAF Champions League Golden Glove||Rodolfo Cota||Guadalajara|
|CONCACAF Champions League Best Young Player||Rodolfo Pizarro||Guadalajara|
|Caribbean Club Championship Top Scorer||Stefano Rijssel||Inter Moengotapoe|
|MLS Golden Boot||Josef Martinez||Atlanta United|
SOUTH AMERICAN AWARD WINNERS
Luan lifted the Copa Libertadores with Gremio in November 2017, scoring the winning goal in the second leg against Lanus to ensure a third continental title for the Brazilian club. He finished just a goal behind Jose Sand in the top scorer rankings and was named the tournament’s best player and then the South American Footballer of the Year.
|South American Footballer of the Year||Luan||Gremio & Brazil|
|Copa Libertadores Top Scorer||Jose Sand||Lanus|
|Copa Libertadores Best Player||Luan||Gremio|
|Copa Sudamericana Top Scorer||Jhon Cifuente||Universidad Catolica|
The Goal 50 is an annual award that both recognises and ranks the world’s 50 best footballers of the preceding 12 months. Chief editors and correspondents from Goal’s 42 editions around the world all cast their votes, with candidates judged on their level of consistency over the previous year of action, their big-game performances, footballing legacy and the success of their teams at both club and international level.