100 per cent of the goalkeepers and defenders on the last four FIFA/FIFPro World XIs have come from Brazil, Germany or Spain after Manuel Neuer, Dani Alves, Marcelo, Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos completed the latest backline. The only defensive player from outside the aforementioned nations to gain inclusion over the past six years was Serbia’s Nemanja Vidic in 2011.
93.3 per cent of FIFA Women’s World Player runners-up have been forwards after Celia Sasic came in between Carli Lloyd and Aya Miyama – both midfielders – in the 2015 duel. Mia Hamm, Birgit Prinz and Marta have finished second 11 times between them, while Tiffeny Milbrett and Abby Wambach have done once apiece. Kristine Lilly remains the only non-striker to seize silver, the attacking midfielder having done so in 2006. Lloyd’s crowning means that, after the first ten FIFA Women’s World Player gongs went to frontrunners, only one of the last five has.
33 years and 179 days made Carli Lloyd the oldest outfield recipient of the FIFA Women’s World Player award. The heroine of USA’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Final triumph unseated Homare Sawa, who was 54 days younger when she was honoured at the 2011 Gala. Former Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer remains the oldest overall winner, having been 35 two years ago.
8 years have now passed since the FIFA Ballon d’Or/FIFA World Player of the Year went to its most prolific nation. Since Kaka earned Brazil its eighth title in 14 years in 2007, the award has been monopolised by Cristiano Ronaldo (three conquests) and Lionel Messi (five). The latter has now, incredibly, finished first or second on nine straight occasions.
7.86 is the percentage of votes Neymar received for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, eclipsing the previous lowest one of the final three had collected. That had belonged to Xavi, who pocketed 9.23 per cent in 2011. Franck Ribery boasts the highest percentage of votes for a third-place finisher, with his 23.36 return just 1.36 shy of silver medalist Lionel Messi in 2013.
6 different nations made up the six midfield and forward positions in the FIFA/FIFPro World XI for the first time. That statistic had been denied by pairs of Frenchman in 2005, Brazilians in 2007, Spaniards in 2008 and 2013, and Argentinians in 2014. It was finally brought up by Andres Iniesta (Spain), Luka Modric (Croatia), Paul Pogba (France), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Neymar (Brazil) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) making the team of 2015.
5 is what gives Portugal the outright most runners-up finishes in the FIFA World Player/FIFA Ballon d’Or running. Cristiano Ronaldo, with his fourth silver, took the Iberian country past France, for whom Jean-Pierre Papin (1991), Thierry Henry (2003 & ’04) and Zinedine Zidane (2006) fell just short. Luis Figo (2000) is Portugal’s other runner-up.
4 years and 146 days after making his senior coaching debut at Roma, Luis Enrique lifted the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football. Pep Guardiola managed it in the quickest time – three years and 149 days – and, at 40, was five years younger than one of the men who succeeded him at the Barcelona reins.
4 successive FIFA Puskas Award-winning goals have now been volleys. Wendell Lira’s 360° semi-scissor succeeded Miroslav Stoch’s dipping strike for Fenerbahce against Genclerbirligi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s imperial overhead-kick for Sweden against England, and James Rodriguez’s chest and smash for Colombia at the last FIFA World Cup™. With Hamit Altintop having also pocketed the prize for a ball-off-the-floor effort, 67 per cent of its winners have been volleys, with the only exceptions being Cristiano Ronaldo’s thunderbolt for Manchester United against Porto and Neymar’s dribble-themed gem for Santos against Flamengo.