Updated: Jul 28
There are two major, prestigious solo awards in world football, or soccer. These are the Ballon D'or which is carried out by the French Football news magazine France Football since 1956 and the Best FIFA Football Awards carried out by FIFA since 2017. Despite appearing similar, they are very different. The major difference is how the awards are decided. The Ballon D'or is an award decided by voting from the media, while FIFA's Best Award is awarded based on votes from national team captains and coaches, as well as the media.
This creates some differences in who the award is given to because of media bias, especially towards Messi. This was exemplified in 2021 when Messi won the Ballon D'or while playing for French team Paris Saint Germain and Robert Lewandowski won FIFA's Best Men's Player Award-FIFA has multiple awards for both men and women. There is definitely bias though in the Best Awards voting as the national team coaches and captains very commonly vote for their players or teammates. This was reflected in this year's voting as Brazil captain Thiago Silva voted for teammate Neymar first and then eventual winner Messi second. There is still some sportsmanship in the voting, though, as Austria captain David Alaba voted for Messi ahead of Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema. This, unfortunately, led to abuse from fans which he responded to by saying that the whole team voted, he didn't just decide by himself. This voting also makes the world best XI.
Looking specifically at this year's Best FIFA Football Awards which had it's ceremony in Zurich on the 27th of February there were a number of awards handed out, headlines by the best men's and women's players being Lionel Messi and Alexia Putellas, respectively. Behind them the best goalkeepers were Emi Martinez, mainly for his World Cup heroics, and Mary Earps. Lionel Scaloni and Sarina Wiegman were also awarded best coaches. One of the older awards that this ceremony includes is the Puskas award which was given to Polish Amputee Marcin Olesky. Lastly, Luka Lochoshvili won the Fair Play award for his work to save an opposition player and the Argentine National team fans collectively won the best fans award.