The Washington Post

Messi, Putellas named world’s best players


World Cup champion Lionel Messi edged Kylian Mbappé again, this time to take FIFA’S best men’s player award Monday.

The best women’s player was Spain’s Alexia Putellas for a second straight year.

After steering Argentina to World Cup glory in an epic final against Mbappé’s France last year in Qatar, Messi won the best player vote over Mbappé and

Karim Benzema and secured the FIFA prize for the seventh time in 14 years.

The three made the final shortlist in voting by a global panel of national team captains and coaches, selected journalist­s in each of FIFA’S 211 member countries, plus fans online.

Putellas won the award over Alex Morgan of the United States and Beth Mead, who led England to the European Championsh­ip title in 2022.

Argentina’s Lionel Scaloni was voted men’s coach of the year. The Argentine Football Associatio­n announced earlier in the day that Scaloni’s contract was extended through 2026.

The women’s coach award went to England’s Sarina Wiegman.

The women’s goalkeeper award was given to England’s Mary Earps, and the best men’s goalkeeper was Argentina’s Emiliano Martínez. — Associated Press

Jurgen Klinsmann, the former coach of the men’s national teams for the United States and Germany, was named coach of the South Korea men’s team, the Korea Football Associatio­n announced.

The KFA said Klinsmann’s deal will take him through the 2026 World Cup.

Klinsmann, a player on West Germany’s 1990 World Cup championsh­ip team, succeeds Paulo Bento, who stepped down after a four-year cycle in which he led South Korea to the round of 16 in last year’s World Cup.

— Cindy Boren

Nick Bontis resigned as president of the Canadian Soccer Associatio­n, acknowledg­ing change is needed to achieve labor peace with the men’s and women’s teams.

The move followed a letter from provincial and territoria­l soccer leaders asking Bontis to step down. . . .

Fiorentina fullback Cristiano Biraghi scored from a quick free kick in his own half that caught Hellas Verona goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo off guard during the final minutes of a 3-0 Serie A road win.

Antonin Barak and Arthur Cabral also scored for Fiorentina, which carried its momentum after qualifying for the Europa Conference League round of 16.

Also, Lazio moved into fourth place and the final Champions League spot with a 1-0 win over struggling Sampdoria in Rome.

Lazio midfielder Luis Alberto scored in the 80th from the edge of the area. . . .

Samuel Chukwueze scored and assisted as Villarreal rallied to beat relegation-threatened Getafe, 2-1, at home and end a four-game losing streak in the Spanish league.

The win moved Villarreal to seventh place, closer to the European classifica­tion spots. . . .

Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowsk­i strained his left hamstring in Sunday’s loss at Almeria and is likely to miss the matchup with Real Madrid in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday. . . .

The English Football League confirmed Marcus Rashford is now credited with Manchester United’s second goal in Sunday’s 2-0 League Cup final win over Newcastle. It was initially ruled an own goal. . . .

French prosecutor­s opened a preliminar­y investigat­ion of a rape accusation against Paris Saint-germain defender Achraf Hakimi, a judicial official said.


Florida’s football team hired Austin Armstrong as defensive coordinato­r, poaching a recently hired member of Alabama Coach Nick Saban’s staff.

Armstrong replaces Patrick Toney, who left Gainesvill­e after one season to become a defensive assistant with the NFL’S Arizona Cardinals.

Armstrong, 29, will be the youngest defensive coordinato­r of a Power Five conference team. He spent the past two seasons leading the defense at Southern Mississipp­i, and the Crimson Tide announced his hiring as inside linebacker­s coach Feb. 13. . . .

UCLA will have its third defensive coordinato­r in three years after the hiring of D’anton Lynn.

This will be Lynn’s first stint as a coordinato­r after eight years as an NFL assistant. He replaces Bill Mcgovern, who will remain on staff as director of football administra­tion. Mcgovern was hired last year but missed most of the second half of the season due to health issues. . . .

Tennessee baseball coach Tony Vitello will return for the team’s home game against Charleston Southern on Tuesday after serving a three-game suspension.

Vitello was suspended Friday as university officials, Vitello and the NCAA addressed an unspecifie­d violation in the program. Josh Elander was acting head coach as the Vols swept a series against Dayton.


Novak Djokovic broke the record for the most time spent at No. 1 in the profession­al rankings by a man or woman, beginning his 378th week in the ATP’S top spot to surpass Steffi Graf’s 377 leading the WTA.

He already held the men’s record, having eclipsed Roger Federer’s ATP mark of 310 weeks in March 2021.

The 35-year-old Serbian returned to the top spot this time by winning the Australian Open in January, jumping up from No. 5 to overtake Carlos Alcaraz. ...

Andrey Rublev began his Dubai Championsh­ips title defense by spoiling Filip Krajinovic’s 31st birthday with a 7-5, 6-2 win.

Also, Alexander Zverev beat Jiri Lehecka, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Andy Murray, the 2017 Dubai winner, pulled out of the event because of a sore hip. . . .

Katie Volynets beat Alison Riske-amritraj, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, in an all-american matchup to reach the second round of the ATX Open in Austin. — From news services

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