Mohamed Salah’s Puskas Award-winning goal for Liverpool against Everton garnered deserved brickbats around the world.
His own teammate James Milner quipped that it was only the seventh best of Salah’s remarkable goal-scoring feats last season, while other football fans felt that Lionel Messi produced such goals every other week.
But where Salah was done an injustice at the Fifa Football Awards on Monday night was missing out on the FIFPro World XI.
How does someone who made the final three-man short-list for Fifa’s The Best award miss out on the team of the season?
The final XI is jam-packed with the best players in the world, but Salah’s amazing run with Liverpool in the Premier League and Champions League deserves recognition.
Yes, he perhaps wasn’t at his best in the World Cup, but that was due to injury. And he played for Egypt, who aren’t exactly a football superpower and qualified for their first tournament since 1990.
The man who should’ve missed out for me was Eden Hazard, who probably pipped Salah due to his excellent World Cup.
But some of the odd choices of the 25 000 professional footballers from 65 countries who voted for the mythical XI didn’t end with Salah’s omission.
Thibaut Courtois was chosen as the best goalkeeper at the Fifa Awards, but didn’t make the World XI, with David de Gea getting the nod.
Dani Alves was injured and didn’t even play at the World Cup, but while his quality is undoubted, France’s starlet Benjamin Pavard – who scored a sensational pile-driver against Argentina that was voted as the goal of the tournament – can feel a bit unlucky to miss out.
For the rest of the XI, though, it’s pretty difficult to find any faults, with the industrious N’Golo Kante a welcome selection in midfield.
FIFPro World XI
Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Spain, Manchester United)
Defenders: Dani Alves (Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Varane (France, Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid), N’Golo Kante (France, Chelsea), Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea)
Forwards: Kylian Mbappe (France, Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid/Juventus)