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Europe’s best punch tickets to Dubai awards

Europe’s best punch tickets to Dubai awards
30 May 2024 09:06

Abu Dhabi (Aletihad)

PSG striker Kylian Mbappe, Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso, and Barcelona phenomenon Lamine Yamal were among the major winners at the inaugural European edition of the KAFD Globe Soccer Awards in Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, on a starry night in Spain.

Some of the winners will make it to the annual, year-ending Globe Soccer Awards which has been held in Dubai for the past 14 years and recognises the best talents worldwide.

Manchester City were adjudged the men’s Best Club and Chief Executive Officer Ferran Soriano received the trophy on behalf of the Premier League winners. The women’s Best Club honours went to Barcelona.

All five winners – Mbappe, Alonso, Yamal, Barcelona, and Manchester City – also received a gold “Road To Dubai” medal from His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, confirming their qualification for the 15th edition this winter in the UAE.

With shortlists for five of the 10-plus awards decided by a fan vote earlier this month, a star-studded jury of football industry luminaries selected the final winners and were crowned at a glittering ceremony.

The goal of the KAFD Globe Soccer Awards Europe is to recognise European football excellence both on and off the field.

Alongside Mbappe and Alonso, a full catalogue of football industry figures from past and present were in attendance, including Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski, three-time Champions League winner Fernando Morientes, former England manager Fabio Capello, current Italy coach Luciano Spalletti, and presidents, chairmen, and CEOs of some of the continent’s most prominent clubs and organisations.

Mbappe, the French striker whose contract with his Parisian club expires at the end of June, took to the stage amid applause from his peers to collect the Best Player award.  Mbappe said: “It’s always great to see everybody recognise your game. I want to thank my club; I know my president is here. This is part of my journey. I want to work hard to keep my name in the history of football. There is a lot still to do and I am far away from what I want to achieve, but I will start this summer with the Euro and then the next step of my life. I can’t wait.” The superstar’s moment came minutes after Alonso, who led his Leverkusen side to an undefeated domestic double and the final of the Europa League, received the Best Coach award.

“I’m proud to receive this award, not just for myself but for all Bayer Leverkusen,” Alonso said. “What we have lived this year has been phenomenal. It felt special since the beginning, all the connections we created with the fans, the players, the staff. We’ve been able to have a dream season.”

The Emerging Player award was won by Barcelona’s 16-year-old winger Yamal, who scored five goals and notched eight assists in 37 La Liga appearances this season, while Xavier Puig, the Barcelona director responsible for women’s football, collected the award on behalf of Barcelona Femeni.

Other winners were: Atalanta, who received the Revelation Award for winning the Europa League and qualifying for next season’s UEFA Champions League; Nasser Al Khelaifi, Chairman of the European Clubs Association and President of PSG, for his leadership skills; Cesc Fàbregas on behalf of Como for a Comeback Award after the Lombardy side was promoted to Serie A for the first time in 21 years, and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta as the Best Coach in Premier League.

In a side event, the end-of-season La Liga Awards were held. Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham won the Best Player after an incredible debut season in which the Englishman netted 19 goals and had six assists in 28 games. Yamal won Best U23 Player and Jesús Areso of Osasuna won Best Goal for his strike from close to the corner flag against Getafe. Best Coach was won by Míchel after he oversaw Girona’s climb from 10th to third in just 12 months.

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