2016 was ultimately another bitter disappointment for Argentina after a third major final defeat in as many years but Lionel Messi and Sergio Agüero are still among the 23 named on FIFA’s shortlist for the best player of the year.
The pair were joined by Gonzalo Higuaín and Paulo Dybala on the Ballon d’Or shortlist but with FIFA having their own separate awards this year, Argentina’s representation at The Best FIFA Football Awards, to be held on 9 January in Zurich, is reduced to two.
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) November 4, 2016
Messi’s 2016 will unfortunately be better remembered for his missed penalty in the shootout against Chile in the Copa América final and the subsequent drama surrounding his brief international retirement but it was still a year of great achievement for the Argentina captain.
Starting with Messi lifting a record fifth Ballon d’Or and culminating in Barcelona completing a league and cup double. Atlético Madrid ended hopes of another treble at the quarter stage of the Champions League but Argentina not ending their trophy drought is not a personal failing of the 29-year-old. What we have seen in Messi’s absence recently is just how much he brings to La Albiceleste.
For Agüero, his inclusion on the shortlist is recognition for being one of world football’s top strikers but he stands no chance of winning the award. Despite scoring 24 Premier League goals in 30 appearances, Manchester City could only manage a fourth placed finish and his League Cup medal was a solitary title.
The awards will be voted by an expert panel in addition to a percentage of online votes and the winner will be announced on January 9th.