The man of the match award is pretty self explanatory. It is presented to the player who has been the most impactful on the pitch over the course of 90 minutes. The number of man of the match awards a player picks up can be a good metric to measure how effective a player is for a team.
Fans and pundits obsess over goals and assists these days but those numbers can be quite misleading at times. A player needn’t have found the back of the net or set up a teammate to score a goal in order to have made the difference for his side.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the seven players who have won the most man of the match awards since 2009.
#7 Harry Kane – 79 man of the match awards (21% of games)
Harry Kane is one of the best strikers of his generation. Although his trophy cabinet is rather vacant, the English marksman’s individual brilliance cannot be denied. Kane has won 79 man of the match awards in 383 matches since 2009.
He is a well-rounded centre-forward whose playmaking skills are pretty much on par with his finishing. He is the captain of the England national team and the Three Lions will hope that Kane can inspire them to a long run at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
#6 Robert Lewandowski – 86 man of the match awards (17% of games)
Robert Lewandowski picked up his second successive European Golden Shoe last season after scoring 35 goals in the Bundesliga. The Poland international is arguably the finest marksman on the planet right now and is an elite finisher.
He joined Barcelona from Bayern Munich earlier this summer and got off the mark last Sunday (August 21) with a brace in Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Real Sociedad. Lewandowski has picked up 86 man of the match awards since 2009.
#5 Neymar Jr. – 87 man of the match awards (28% of games)
Neymar Jr. is one of the most skillful footballers of all time. The Brazilian attacker is a joy to watch with his silky dribbling skills, link-up play and incredible vision. He is also one of the most technically gifted forwards of all time and his set-piece abilities are exemplary as well.
Neymar has been a real difference maker for both club and country throughout his career. The 30-year-old has got off to a flying start to the new season, scoring seven goals and providing six assists in just four appearances across all competitions for PSG.
He has won a whopping 87 man of the match awards since 2009.
#4 Eden Hazard – 100 man of the match awards (19% of games)
Eden Hazard was absolutely phenomenal for club and country over the last decade. His contributions have dwindled considerably over the past couple of seasons as he has struggled with injuries and fitness issues.
At the peak of his powers, Hazard was one of Europe’s most complete attackers. He was strong on the ball and could run rings around defenses all day. Hazard is also a very intelligent footballer and is a force to be reckoned with in the attacking third.
The Real Madrid man has won a whopping 100 man of the match awards since 2009.
#3 Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 116 man of the match awards (26% of games)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a phenomenal striker. He has played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs and although he has had a journeyman career of sorts, he is revered at almost every club he has played for.
Ibrahimovic won the Serie A title with AC Milan last season at the age of 40. Ibrahimovic has won 116 man of the match awards since 2009.
#2 Cristiano Ronaldo – 175 man of the match awards (30% of games)
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers of all time. The Portuguese icon is the leading scorer in men’s international football with 117 goals to his name. The 37-year-old is currently at Manchester United and picked up the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award last term.
Ronaldo has won six Champions League titles in his career and is also the all-time top scorer in the competition. He has won 175 man of the match awards since 2009.
#1 Lionel Messi – 306 man of the match awards (52% of games)
Lionel Messi is a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner. The legendary Argentinian forward is arguably the greatest footballer of all time. He is almost unstoppable with the ball at his feet and is one of the most well-rounded players to have pulled on a pair of cleats.
Messi has won 306 man of the match awards in 584 appearances since 2009. He has been named the man of the match in 52% of the games he has played in that period.