Published:  12:00 AM, 11 January 2017

Ranieri and Neid win top FIFA awards

Ranieri and Neid win top FIFA awards Claudio Ranieri of Italy (Best FIFA Men's Coach), Silvia Neid of Germany (Best FIFA Women's Coach), Carli Lloyd (Best FIFA Women's Player of 2016), and Cristiano Ronaldo (Best FIFA Men's Player of 2016) pose on stage during The Best FIFA Football Awar
Football's annual celebration of best performers entered a new era On Monday evening in Zurich, with the inaugural edition of The Best FIFA Football Awards. On its 25th anniversary of honoring world football's top performers, FIFA has decided to take the game's most prestigious individual award to a new, modern direction. The awards show was held at Zurich's TPC studios and presented by Eva Longoria and Marco Schreyl.

The idea is to connect directly with the football world. To speak the language informally used by those who love the game- and who consider a player, a coach or a goal to be simply "the best". The Best FIFA Football Awards are born under this sign. It is a celebration made for and by the most important actors of the football scene- the players, coaches and fans. They are the ones making the decisions.

The Best trophies for player and coach of the year, in both men's and women's football, will be the result of a combined voting process, in which 50 per cent of the decision will be taken based on the choices of captains and head coaches of all national teams around the globe. The other 50 per cent will be split between the result of an online public ballot and the submissions from a selected group of over 200 media representatives from the six continents.

Caption: Members of the FIFA FIFPro World11 pose on stage with hosts Eva Longoria and Marco Schreyl during The Best FIFA Football Awards at TPC Studio on January 9, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland.    -FIFA

The winners of the prestigious individual awards as the best of the last 12 months are:
Claudio Ranieri has crowned a year of seeming impossibilities by reaching the pinnacle of his profession as The Best FIFA Men's Coach. Ranieri went on to inspire his charges, instilling an unrivalled team spirit as the club claimed the first top-flight title in their 132-year history. Legendary German coach Silvia Neid has ended a remarkable career by reaching the peak of her profession for the third time, twice more than any other coach in women's football.

She capped off this remarkable record in 2016 by leading her country to their first gold medal at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament in Brazil.  The Rio 2016 final was Neid's last game as national team coach, bringing an end to this impressive era and seeing her hand over to Steffi Jones, who has an unenviable task as her successor.

Football fans are at the heart of FIFA's new award show. Not only did they take part in choosing the winners of the individual awards for the first time ever, they also had a recognition of their own. Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool supporters were chosen by other football fans from around the world and received the inaugural FIFA Fan Award for their unified singing of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in memory of those involved in the Hillsborough disaster. Public voting also decided the most beautiful goal of the season, with Mohd Faiz Subri taking the FIFA Puskás Award 2016 trophy back home to Malaysia. The votes from over 45,000 players around the world decided the FIFA FIFPro World11, the football players' own selection of the dream team of 2016.

The FIFA Fair Play Award recognises exemplary behaviour that promotes the spirit of fair play and compassion on and off the field. Atlético Nacional were chosen by a panel of football experts as the deserving recipients of the FIFA Fair Play Award 2016.  The Colombian club displayed humanity and compassion in face of the tragic plane crash that befell Chapecoense - the Brazilian club they were to face in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, and to whom, they insisted that the cup be given. The award was accepted on stage in Zurich on 9 January 2017 by Dr Carlos de La Cuesta.

The evening also featured a homage to Alessandro Rosa Vieira, known more popularly as the "king of futsal", Falcão. Falcao's three goals in his final game rubberstamped his legacy even further, taking him to 48 goals in Futsal World Cups, the highest goalscorer in the competition's history. Following his retirement from the national team after the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016, the Brazilian legend was lauded with the FIFA Award for an Outstanding Career.

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