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SARDINIA: PSG striker Kylian Mbappe, Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso and FC Barcelona star Lamine Yamal were among the winners of the first edition of the King Abdullah Financial District Globe Soccer Awards Europe.
Tuesday’s ceremony at the Cala di Volpe Hotel on the Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, marked the first European edition of the awards, which have been held in Dubai for the past 14 years.
With shortlists for five of more than 10 awards decided by fan voting earlier this month, a jury of soccer stars has selected the final winners. The awards recognize excellence in European football, both on and off the pitch.
This week’s event was attended by industry representatives and players past and present, including FC Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski, three-time Champions League winner Fernando Morientes, former England manager Fabio Capello and the coach of the current Italian national team, Luciano Spalletti.
Mbappe, whose contract with the Parisian club expires at the end of June, took to the stage to loud applause to collect the KAFD Best Player award.
“It’s an honor to be here: I see great players, coaches, legends. It’s always nice to see everyone recognize your game. I want to thank my club; I know my president is here,” said the French striker.
“It is always a pleasure to take part in this event. It’s part of my journey. I want to work hard to keep my name in football history. There is still a lot to do and I am far from what I want to achieve, but I will start this summer with the European Championships.”
The star’s moment in the spotlight came minutes after Alonso, who led his Leverkusen to an unbeaten domestic double and the Europa League final, received the best manager award from Pedro Proenca, president of La Liga Portugal.
“It was a real pleasure to see old colleagues and friends here tonight in this beautiful setting,” Alonso said. “I am proud to receive this award, not only for myself but for all of Bayer Leverkusen. What we experienced this year was phenomenal, an amazing journey. It was special from the start, all the connections we made with the fans, the players, the staff. We managed to experience a dream season.”
The Emerging Player award was won by 16-year-old FC Barcelona winger Yamal, who has scored five goals and made eight assists in 37 La Liga appearances this season. Xavier Puig, director responsible for women’s football at Barcelona, ​​accepted the award for best women’s club on behalf of FC Barcelona Femeni. Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano received the Best Men’s Club on behalf of the British Premier League champions.
All five winners – Mbappe, Alonso, Yamal, FC Barcelona and Manchester City – also received a “Road to Dubai” gold medal from His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, confirming their qualification for the Dubai Globe Soccer at the end of the year. Awards taking place this winter in the United Arab Emirates.
Other Globe Soccer winners include Atalanta, who received the Revelation Award after winning the Europa League and qualifying for next season’s UEFA Champions League, and Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of the European Clubs Association and president of PSG, who collected the Football Leadership Award. Cesc Fabregas collected the Comeback Award on behalf of Como after his Lombard team were promoted to Serie A for the first time in 21 years, and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta received the Premier League’s best manager award by former Gunner Fabregas after leading his defiant team to just two points of the title.
A number of lifetime achievement awards were also distributed during the evening, with Spalletti and Gianluigi Buffon picking up a coaching award and a player award respectively, while Karl-Heinz Rummenigge collected a Special Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his work with the Bayern Munich, first as CEO and now as manager. member of the club’s supervisory board. A posthumous Special Lifetime Achievement Award was also awarded to Italian striker Gigi Riva, who died earlier this year at the age of 79. He was retired by his son Nicola.
“It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but I’m extremely proud to see the European soccer industry come out to recognize and celebrate the continent’s top performers,” said Tommaso Bendoni, founder and CEO of Globe Soccer.
“When we created the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards 14 years ago, we had an ambitious vision which is now coming to fruition. The fact that we have attracted so many of the biggest names in European football to join us for this historic event in Costa Smeralda is testament to the growing reputation of the Globe Soccer brand.”
Just before the KAFD Globe Soccer Awards Europe, the first end-of-season La Liga Awards took place, with Spanish football celebrating an exciting 2023-24 season.
Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham won the best player award after an incredible debut season in which the Englishman scored 19 goals and provided six assists in just 28 games. Yamal won the best U23 player award and Osasuna’s Jesus Areso won best goal for his shot from close to the corner flag against Getafe. The best manager award was won by Michel after overseeing Girona’s rise from 10th to third place in just 12 months.
Winners of the KAFD Globe Soccer Awards Europe Edition 2024:
Best Player: Kylian Mbappe (PSG and France)
Best Coach: Xabi Alonso (Bayer Leverkusen)
Emerging Player: Lamine Yamal (FC Barcelona & Spain)
Best men’s team: Manchester City
Best women’s club: FC Barcelona
Best Premier League Manager: Mikel Arteta (Arsenal)
Revelation Award: Atalanta
Football Leadership Award: Nasser Al-Khelaifi (PSG and Association of European Clubs)
Return Award: Cesc Fàbregas (Como)
Special Lifetime Achievement Award: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Special Lifetime Achievement Award: Gigi Riva
Coach Career Award: Luciano Spalletti
Lifetime Achievement Player Award: Gianluigi Buffon
Sportsmanship Award: Gianluca Pessotto

Official La Liga 2024 Awards:
EA SPORTS La Liga Champion: Real Madrid
Best U23 player: Lamine Yamal (FC Barcelona)
Best Coach: Michel (Girona)
Best Goal: Jesus Areso (Health)
Best Player: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid)
Team of the season: Unai Simon, Daniel Carvajal, Ronald Araujo, Antonio Rudiger, Miguel Gutierrez; Aleix Garcia, Ilkay Gundogan, Federico Valverde, Isco, Jude Bellingham, Savio, Griezmann, Robert Lewandowski, Artem Dovbyk and Vini Jr.

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