Whilst the FIFPro player of the year award itself has a relativily short history (having only been awarded since 2005), the origins of the awards could feasibly traced back to 1898 and the formation of the Association Football’s Union in England. Whilst the AFU turned out to be unsuccessful and ultimately shortlived, shutting up shop in 1901, it was a precursor to the formation of the Professional Footballers Association which officially started in 1907.
The formation of the PFA in England led to the creatition of similar organisations in other countries such as Scotland, France and Italy.
It was only a matter of time until a worldwide organisation was created and in 1965 player associations from France, Scotland, Italy, Netherlands and England met and FIFPro was official formed. Today FIFPro continues to be made up of individual player associations from across the globe.
What is surprising is the fact that it took 40 years for the FIFPro award to come about, especially when you consider it’s individual organisations have handed out awards for many decades. The PFA for example awarded it’s PFA Player of the year award in 1974.
Despite the time that it took to come about the FIFPro award has quickly established itself as one of the top three individual awards a professional footballer can hope to win, alongside the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA world player of the year award.
To explain the awards metoric rise to importance I think you only need to look at the statement made by John Terry after winning the PFA Player of the Year Award. in which he stated that he considered the PFA award “the ultimate accolade to be voted for by your fellow professionals whom you play against week-in and week-out”. When you take that kind of award to a global scale it’s no wonder it’s thought of so highly.
The selection process for the FIFPro award starts with the FIFPRo Awards Committee selecting a list of candidates. This list of candidates is broken up into four categories. Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders and Forwards. Players from the various member associations are then asked to vote for their standout player in each position. From this list XI players are chosen to be part of the FIFPro World XI of the year. The individual player who recieved the most votes is selected as the FIFPro Player of the Year.
Ronaldinho was the first ever recieptent of the FIFPro award. He won the inaurgural 2005 award whilst also winning the 2006 award. As it stands he is the only player to have won the award twice.
The current holder of the FIFPro award is Cristiano Ronaldo, who coincidently also happens to be the only non-Brazilian to have won the award!
FIFPro Player of the Year Award History:
|2007-2008||Cristiano Ronaldo||Manchester United|