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Why aren’t Bernardo Silva or Raheem Sterling nominated for FIFA’s ‘The Best’ Award?

FIFA announced the nominees for their fourth annual ‘The Best’ Men’s Player Award on Wednesday.

Like many others, my eyebrows were raised.

Here are the ten nominees:

  • Frenkie de Jong
  • Matthijs de Ligt
  • Eden Hazard
  • Harry Kane
  • Sadio Mane
  • Kylian Mbappe
  • Lionel Messi
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Mohamed Salah
  • Virgil van Dijk

Luka Modric won last year’s award

Luka Modric won last year’s award

I don’t want to dwell on who I don’t think is worthy of nomination this year because there’s enough negativity in football as it is.

But I will say that Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva are luminously conspicuous in their absence.

On FIFA’s website, there’s three bullet-point justifications for each nominee, notes such as: helped Argentina to bronze at 2019 Copa America, UEFA Nations League semi-finalist, scored 17 Premier League goals in 28 appearances, etc.

You don’t need reminding what bullet points Man City’s star players could boast.



But let’s imagine what Sterling and Bernardo’s profiles would look like anyway, shall we?


  • FWA Footballer of the Year
  • 25 goals and 18 assists in all club competitions
  • Instrumental in Man City’s historic domestic treble


  • Instrumental in Man City’s historic domestic treble
  • Instrumental in Portugal’s UEFA Nations League victory
  • UEFA Nations League Finals Player of the Tournament

Not bad, eh?

Considerably more credible than some of those who have made the cut.

You could devise something similar for the consistently world-class Sergio Aguero too.

Dripping in medals

Getty Images - Getty
Dripping in medals

Personally, I think individual awards should focus on individual performance.

Far too much onus has been put on team achievements in recent years, with the culmination being Lionel Messi’s farcical 5th placed ranking at the most recent Ballon d’Or.

However, even if we focus on individual merit, Sterling and Bernardo’s omissions are, at best, questionable.

The former’s 2018/19 was only rivalled by Van Dijk and Hazard on English soil, not to mention the Englishman’s deserved place in the Champions League Squad of the Season.

If Van Dijk and Hazard are included (as they should be) then why not Sterling as well?

Sterling has also been one of England’s best players in the last year

Sterling has also been one of England’s best players in the last year

As for Bernardo, his blend of ingenuity and industry has made him near enough the ultimate modern midfielder.

Technically sound in possession and a relentless hound when the opposition are permitted a short spell with the ball.

So key was he to Pep Guardiola’s master plan, the extremely talented Leroy Sane was forced to watch much of City’s brilliance from the bench.

Factor in how Bernardo was widely recognised as Portugal’s most influential player despite being the team-mate of a certain five-time Ballon d’Or winner and we have a 18/19 worthy of global admiration.

The inaugural Nations League champions

Getty - Contributor
The inaugural Nations League champions

Many City fans are claiming the shortlist as evidence of a campaign of bias against their club.

While I don’t believe in widespread conspiracies, I certainly don’t blame the fans who have arrived at such a conclusion.

Football is a game of opinions but there’s seemingly no justification for lack of City representation in what is one of the top two individual awards in men’s football, given the candidates.

It will be interesting to see what the world’s captains, coaches and journalists think when the Ballon d’Or rolls around…

NEXT: How Roy Keane’s ‘finest hour’ helped Man United achieve the impossible

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