Scaloni, Ancelotti and Guardiola revealed as The Best FIFA Men's Coach finalists

By Sports Desk February 09, 2023

Argentina's World Cup-winning boss Lionel Scaloni and Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti are among the finalists for The Best FIFA Men's Coach Award 2022.

The duo are listed alongside perennial candidate Pep Guardiola of Manchester City in the final three, with the latter named as a finalist for the third time.

Scaloni, who finished fourth last year, took La Albiceleste to victory at Qatar 2022 and is recognised for his efforts in helping to seal a first World Cup triumph since 1986.

Ancelotti is feted for his work with Madrid, after winning a continental double and becoming the first manager to win all five major European league titles.

Guardiola guided City to another Premier League triumph, though he fell short in the Champions League once again and saw his team's main rival Liverpool nab the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

The Spaniard will be looking to go one better than his previous two appearances as a finalist in the voting, having finished second in 2019 and third in 2021.

Among those included in the final three for The Best FIFA Women's Coach Award, England boss Sarina Wiegman picks up a sixth consecutive nod in the category.

The Lionesses manager, a two-time winner of the prize, led the team to a maiden major honour triumph at Euro 2022, securing victory against Germany on home soil.

She is joined by Brazil boss Pia Sundhage – the Swede having claimed Copa America Femenina glory – and Lyon's Sonia Bompastor, who won the treble with the French side.

The winners of The Best FIFA Football Awards will be announced on February 27.

 

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    Former Manchester City goalkeeper David James hails Pep Guardiola for "doing remarkable things" but believes he is still not at Alex Ferguson’s level.

    City became the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive titles with their 3-1 win over West Ham on Sunday, pipping Arsenal to the crown by two points.

    Manchester United had previously won three consecutive Premier League seasons, achieving the feat twice under Ferguson (1998-2001 and 2006-2009).

    Guardiola’s side can create more history on Saturday as they aim to clinch unprecedented back-to-back league and FA Cup doubles against the Red Devils.

    Asked if this achievement put Guardiola’s name alongside Ferguson’s as the best Premier League manager, James, who spent two years with City, disagreed.

    "No, Fergie's still the best. Look at statistics and longevity," James told Stats Perform. "And even more so, since Fergie left, what's happened to Manchester United.

    "You can't even blame or use the excuse he had a good team and did well with it, Fergie rode the waves, he was up and down and even these downs weren't particularly bad.

    "I think third or fourth was probably the worst they ever did; Fergie was the best and Pep will have to hang around for another decade, I think, before he can actually challenge that position.

    "But what we're seeing at the moment, you've got a different style of football, a different type of game in so many different ways. The way the league is constructed at the moment with other competitions around it, Pep is having to do different things to what Fergie may have had to do.

    "I know Fergie was a great manager, but not necessarily the greatest coach. Pep is a great manager and a great coach. He's also got an extra string to his bow in that sense.

    "To be the winner of that league four years in a row, you need to be a superb manager. And I think Pep, in this short time frame, is doing some remarkable things, but he's going to have to hang around for a lot longer to take Ferguson's crown."

    Following their victory over West Ham, Guardiola stated that he was "closer to leaving than staying", raising speculation that next season could be his last.

    "I think the big question for Pep, and it is logical that he will now become the focus given that Jurgen Klopp announced his departure a few months ago, and all of a sudden it was nothing, but Jurgen and he will be the next focus," James added.

    "I think the thing for Pep is, what does he want to do as a person? And it's not that he's completed the treble and that's enough because I think that he would want to do a treble treble, you want to do a quadruple.

    "I can see that competitive side in him, he doesn't seem to change on the sidelines. Even yesterday, when they conceded the goal, and it was a fantastic goal from Kudus, he wasn't happy.

    "I think you can still see that he's still animated, still engaged with the game. There's no question that he's feeling tired in that sense.

    "I would like him to stay. I would like him to stay because I think when you've got someone so good, you need someone to beat them legitimately rather than them just step away and allow everyone else to play.

    "I think he should stay. And I'm sure City will do everything they can to keep him in charge for the foreseeable future."

  • Southgate envisages central role for 'brilliant' Foden at Euro 2024 Southgate envisages central role for 'brilliant' Foden at Euro 2024

    Gareth Southgate believes Phil Foden's starting position is less important than the spaces he is allowed to attack, pledging to find a way of letting him operate centrally at Euro 2024.

    Foden was included in England's 33-man preliminary squad on Tuesday, and he is expected to be among the first names on the teamsheet after enjoying a fine campaign.

    Foden was named Premier League Player of the Season as he helped Manchester City win an unprecedented fourth straight title, scoring 19 goals and adding seven assists.

    Only three players in the league bettered Foden's goal tally, while he also ranked seventh in the division for chances created (73) and fourth for possession won in the final third (35 times).

    Foden scored two excellent goals as City clinched the title with a 3-1 final-day win over West Ham, drifting infield from the right to find space between the lines and in the penalty area.

    While the presence of Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka has led many to conclude Foden will be stationed on the left in Germany, Southgate is aware of the need to grant him positional freedom.

    "Phil has played off the right, off the left, the key is where he ends up, not his starting position," Southgate said at a press conference on Tuesday.

    "He plays on the left with City, sometimes he stays wide, but he's allowed to drift, and it has always been the same with us. He's allowed to drift. 

    "Then there's where a player has to defend. Jude has played as a 10 all season, and sometimes he has defended on the left for Real Madrid. 

    "It's about where these players arrive and where you allow them to drift, that's the key. I think if you spoke to all of our players, we never pin them to a touchline, that's not how we work so there is that freedom."

    Foden produced a series of talismanic displays for City in the run-in, scoring match-winning hat-tricks against Brentford and Aston Villa and masterminding a vital comeback against Manchester United with two goals in March.

    The 23-year-old stepped up while players like Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland were sidelined through injury, and Southgate has been impressed by his ability to shoulder that responsibility.

    "It's obvious the brilliant season Phil has had, how he stepped up in big games not only when big players have been out but when he's been playing alongside them as well," Southgate added.

    "You want him in central areas as you do one or two others, so we have to find the best way of making that happen."

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    The 34-year-old was thought likely to sign a new contract with Los Blancos, but he announced on Tuesday that he will hang up his boots after representing his country on home soil at the Euros. 

    Kroos has enjoyed a distinguished 10-year spell with Madrid, who he joined from Bayern Munich in 2014, winning LaLiga and the Champions League four times apiece with the Spanish giants.

    He played a crucial role as Carlo Ancelotti's men regained their domestic title in 2023-24, but next week's Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund will be the final game of his club career before his Euros swansong. 

    He initially quit international football after the delayed Euro 2020 three years ago, only to agree to return to the fold under Julian Nagelsmann earlier this year.

    In an open letter to Madrid's fans, Kroos wrote: "As I have always said, Real Madrid is and will be my last club.

    "After 10 years, at the end of the season this chapter comes to an end. I will never forget this successful time! I would like to thank everyone that welcomed me with an open heart and trusted me. 

    "But especially I would like to thank you, dear Madridistas, for your affection and your love from the first day until the last one. 

    "At the same time this decision means that my career as an active footballer will end this summer after the Euro championship."

    Kroos also issued a rallying cry as Madrid target a record-extending 15th European crown, adding: "I am happy and proud that in my mind I found the right timing for my decision and that I could choose it myself. 

    "My ambition was always to finish my career at the peak of my performance levels. From now on there is only one leading thought, la 15! Hala Madrid!"

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