Mauricio Pochettino has earned his share of plaudits for how Tottenham Hotspur ended their Premier League season in 2015-16, and now he’s earned another one. Today, Pochettino was listed as one of the finalists for The Best FIFA Men’s Coach award for 2016.
Poche is one of ten finalists for the award that apparently is open to both club and international managers. The other finalists are:
- Chris Coleman (Wales)
- Didier Deschamps (France)
- Luis Enrique (Barcelona)
- Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich/Manchester City)
- Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
- Claudio Ranieri (Leicester City)
- Fernando Santos (Portugal)
- Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid)
- Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)
As far as I can tell, and someone can correct me if I’m wrong about this, The Best FIFA Football Awards are a new series of awards, probably created after FIFA and the Ballon d’Or parted ways at the end of last year; the Ballon d’Or has returned to the auspices of France Football. There are other The Best award categories that have not been announced yet, including The Best FIFA Football Player, Puskas Award (for best goal), Fair Play Award, Fan Award, and FifPro World11.
Here’s what FIFA had to say about Poche on their website:
The very fact that, for the first time since the English Premier League was established in 1992, Tottenham Hotspur were involved in a title race that went down to the wire speaks volumes about the extraordinary season Mauricio Pochettino had as coach. In his second year in the Spurs dugout, the Argentinian continued to put his faith in the club's youthful talents to play attractive, bold and effective football. He led Tottenham to their first top-three finish since 1990, thereby securing qualification for the UEFA Champions League for the third time in the club's history. His ability to improve players has even influenced the England national team: five Tottenham regulars formed the backbone of the Three Lions' side at UEFA EURO 2016 in France.
Pochettino is without question worthy of being included on this list, though considering Tottenham didn’t actually win anything and that there are are lot of managerial luminaries also on this list, it’s probably unlikely that he’ll win the whole thing. And that’s okay.
The winner will be announced in a ceremony in Zurich on January 9, 2017.
Poche also got a shout-out on FIFA’s Twitter account in the announcement, though somehow he magically transformed from an Argentine into a Spaniard on social media.