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The recipient of the inaugural The Best FIFA Men's Player Award has retained his position at the pinnacle of the men’s game, adding yet another individual award to his glittering personal trophy cabinet. The second consecutive The Best award comes after a superlative season in which he won the Spanish league, the FIFA Club World Cup and another UEFA Champions League crown - remarkably finishing as the competition's leading marksman for the fifth-straight season. Yet, despite another stellar year, Portugal's semi-final loss in the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 will surely continue to rankle with this fiercest of competitors.
La Pulga remains as decisive as ever for both club and country. The Argentinian national team are a completely different beast without Messi, as has been laid bare once more on the road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. Meanwhile, the pint-sized forward's 37 league goals kept Barça in the title race right down to the wire last season, as well as earning him his fourth Pichichi Trophy, awarded to the leading goalscorer in the Spanish top flight. He also finished as the joint-top marksman in the Copa del Rey, which the Catalans captured again, and as the second-highest scorer in the UEFA Champions League.
Already the linchpin of the Brazilian national team, Neymar bolstered his standing this year by helping A Seleção become the first side to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. He was similarly instrumental for Barcelona last term, even if his tally of 20 goals in all competitions dropped from 31 in the previous campaign and 39 before that. In contrast, his contributions elsewhere increased, with Neymar delivering 21 assists – a personal best. The Brazil forward was also one of the heroes of the famous 'Remontada' against Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, conjuring up two goals and an assist in an unforgettable second leg. Neymar then signed for the French club in August, opting for a fresh challenge in the most expensive transfer deal in history.