- The Best panels revealed today in Moscow
- Campos, Matthaus, Ronaldo, Tarpley-Snow discuss potential candidates
- The Best FIFA Football Awards shortlists to be revealed in late July
While the globe takes a collective breath after the frenzy of fantastic football that has been the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ so far, four titans of the game were in Moscow to look ahead to an event that is appearing on the horizon: The Best FIFA Football Awards.
Russia 2018 is the final sprint in the race to be The Best – in a number of categories – with the awards ceremony taking place in London on 24 September. Jorge Campos, Lothar Matthaus, Ronaldo and Lindsay Tarpley-Snow were in Russia’s capital today to reveal the panels who will decide the candidates for a number of awards to be presented in just over two months’ time.
FIFA.com was there to hear what the legends had to say.
On the qualities required to be The Best goalkeeper
For a goalkeeper, we need to work to concede less goals. You need to save everything and have clean sheets. If you concede one or two goals in six games it’s safe to say you’re a good goalkeeper. We have great goalkeepers here [at the World Cup] who can be The Best.
On who has impressed him at Russia 2018
Well, (Kasper) Schmeichel and (Fernando) Muslera have done a good job. (Guillermo) Ochoa also played well, I think they are good goalkeepers. They are standing out and doing the right things. (Thibaut) Courtois and (Manuel) Neuer have always been among the best. And the World Cup is something special for goalkeepers, if you’re saving lots of penalties!
On what makes The Best
It is a difficult thing to decide The Best in a team sport, because the best is dependent on the team. From the results of the team, but also the achievement of the individual player and especially the important goals they have scored. The past winners [of The Best awards] have always been the players who’ve scored important goals. However, the team achievements must be there before the individual can be The Best.
On how you can become The Best
I believe that the best player comes from a team that wins titles. It’s important that the team wins and then you are in the spotlight. When you are in big moments like the World Cup, then you have a big chance to be The Best.
On Russia 2018 so far
The World Cup here in Russia is a big success. The atmosphere is very good. There are many surprises here at this tournament. Lower ranked teams are playing intensive, pacey, well-disciplined football and can continue to surprise us. These surprises are what makes a great World Cup.
On Neymar challenging for The Best
I think the scenario of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominating The Best can change this year with the World Cup. The power of the World Cup is really strong and with Messi and Ronaldo eliminated, Neymar has a huge change to win The Best. But this will happen if he wins the World Cup playing in a collective way like he is doing, without thinking specifically about The Best.
On Tite as a contender to be The Best coach
I played for Tite, in my very last season as a footballer. I’m very thankful for that final year with him, and it’s a pity we didn’t work together for longer. A good performance here with Brazil will give him the ticket to The Best awards. For me, he’s already one of the best coaches in the world.
On his pick for the Puskas Award
The most beautiful goal is the one by Ricardo Quaresma from Portugal, the trivela against IR Iran.
On the growth of women’s football
It’s important to use this platform of the World Cup and continue to build. It’s very exciting for women’s football, it’s continuing to grow. It’s important to use the momentum into next year.
On the road to France 2019
Women’s football is growing and evolving at such a rapid pace. I know that this year, with World Cup qualifying there are a lot of clubs that have their seasons going on. If you look across the world, it’s amazing how many leagues have formed. I think that reflects the progress of the game and it’ll be very exciting to have the World Cup next year, to come together and see the level that women’s football is at.