It’s been a long time coming and now the wait is finally over. You voted, fought and debated over who the winners should be for each and every award and now the time has come to reveal the winners. These are your 2016 Mastermind Award Winners!
Footballer of the Year
Nominees: Antoine Griezmann; N’Golo Kante; Robert Lewandowski; Lionel Messi; Neymar; Cristiano Ronaldo; Luis Suarez
WINNER: CRISTIANO RONALDO
The Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Player of the Year and now The Mastermind’s Footballer of the Year as well; what a year it has been for Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo received 29% of the vote to Messi’s 22% and Griezmann’s 14%. Kante meanwhile received 13% of the votes, Suarez received 9% and Lewandowski and Neymar each had 6%.
The Portuguese forward not only won the UEFA Champions League in 2015-16 with Real Madrid but also his first ever international tournament with his national side as the Portuguese superstar led his nation to Euro 2016 glory. On top of that Ronaldo had another incredible 2015-16 season and was the figurehead of Zinedine Zidane’s first ever season in charge of Real Madrid. The Portguese forward scored 35 goals with 11 assists in 36 La Liga matches helping Real Madrid finish as surprise-second place finishers after a shaky start to the campaign. But where Ronaldo really showed his class in 2015-16 was in the UEFA Champions League as he scored a stunning 16 goals to lead the tournament by quite some margin and do more than just help Real Madrid lift the trophy. Ronaldo then rocked Euro 2016, leading Portugal all the way to their first ever international tournament trophy with 3 goals and 2 assists in 7 matches. After all the exeritions from Euro 2016, He has still been in wonderful form to start off the 2016-17 campaign as Madrid currently sit top of the table. It was an incredibly stunning season by the Portuguese forward and after winning the UEFA Champions League and Euro 2016 in the same season, he now adds another honour to his name with The Mastermind’s Footballer of the Year Award.
Nominees: Leicester City – 2015-16 Barclays Premier League; Riyad Mahrez – PFA Player of the Year; Portugal – Euro 2016
WINNER: LEICESTER CITY
The Cindarella story of the year and by far the best winners, Leicester City swept 50% of the votes to claim the award for Best Winner. The Foxes didn’t suffer too many losses at all during the 2015-16 season and were never in any doubt of winning this award either, beating out Euro 2016’s Champions Portugal who received just 9% of the votes. There has never been a greater achievement in the history of football as Claudio Ranieri in his first year at the club managed to take a team of mid-table type players and lead them all the way to Premier League glory in arguably the greatest moment the Premier League has ever seen. Leicester lost just three games the entire season on their way to winning the Premier League title and won every single award imaginable from Players’ Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez to FWA Player of the Year Jamie Vardy to Manager of the Year Claudio Ranieri. Leicester City just had to be the champion of champions, claiming the Best Winner of 2016 award.
Football Manager of the Year
Nominees: Antonio Conte; Pep Guardiola; Jurgen Klopp; Claudio Ranieri; Diego Simeone; Fernando Santos
WINNER: CLUADIO RANIERI
Claudio Ranieri claims the Football Manager of the Year Award with 35% of the votes. Klopp was second but received just over half as many votes as Ranieri with 18% while Conte and Simeone’s stunning calendar years weren’t enough to earn them any more than 15% each. Zinedine Zidane was wrongly ommitted from the shortlist and should have certainly taken the place of Pep Guardiola who received just 6% of the votes while Santos finished just slightly above with 11%.
Leicester City had 5000/1 odds of winning the 2015-16 Barclays Premier League title but somehow they managed to achieve it. The club were a bit of a shambles before Claudio Ranieri arrived at the club, nearly surviving relegation by just two wins the season before (2014-15). But after Ranieri arrived, things instantly started to look better and players like Mahrez, Vardy and Kante transformed from below average Premier League players into the three best players in the league. Ranieri stuck with the same eleven for almost the entire season and it resulted in him losing just 3 matches with the Foxes in the league. His positivity, fun attitude about life and brilliant tactical awareness ensured that every single player in 2015-16 was made to look like a superstar even though most of them were far from it. Players like Wes Morgan who was beginning to fall out of favour under Nigel Pearson, Christian Fuchs who was released by Schalke 04 for not being good enough, and Danny Drinkwater who was the aforementioned Pearson’s third choice central midfielder for a long period of time in 2014-15, were three of the best players in the league in 2015-16 and Claudio Ranieri deserves so much recognition for that. No team has ever achieved a greater feat than Leicester City did in 2015-16 and they could not have done it without Claudio Ranieri. So it is only fitting that the Leicester City manager is this year’s Football Manager of the Year!
Nominees: Saul Niguez vs. Bayern Munich; Dimitri Payet vs. Crystal Palace; Dimitri Payet vs. Middlesbrough; Xherdan Shaqiri vs. Poland
WINNER: XHERDAN SHAQIRI
It came as a bit of a surprise to The Mastermind but Xherdan Shaqiri’s amazing bicycle kick goal against Poland is this year’s winner for Best Goal. 5% was all that separated top from bottom in this award category as Xherdan Shaqiri’s bicycle kick claimed 28% of the votes to Payet’s Free Kick which gained 26% of the votes, Saul Niguez’s solo goal which won 23% of the votes and Payet’s solo goal against Middlesbrough which also won 23% of the votes. After Payet’s incredible goal on opening day against Romania, Euro 2016 was just begging for another wonder goal and finally we got one in the form of a bicycle kick from Xherdan Shaqiri. He didn’t even really have time to think about what he was going to do before he leaped in the air to attempt the bicycle kick and the quality of the strike, the amount of power and the amount of accuracy he managed to get on it were incredible. It’s easy to hit a bicycle kick when you set it up for yourself but it’s terribly tricky when the ball comes back off the defender high in the air because not only do you have to watch the ball and wait for it to drop, but you also have to get your legs set up in the perfect position, leap up in the air and wait for the exact right moment to hit it. This was undeniably the best goal of Euro 2016, a very special moment from Xherdan Shaqiri and the winner of The Mastermind’s Goal of the Year award.
Nominees: Leicester City Win Premier League Title; Jamie Vardy Breaks Goal Record
WINNER: LEICESTER CITY WIN PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE
It was a piece of history that will probably never be repeated ever again. Leicester City’s title win of the 2015-16 Premier League season was so incredible that words cannot describe it and it’s safe to say that this is definitely the right outcome for best moment. The Foxes didn’t suffer too many losses at all during the 2015-16 season and were never in any doubt of winning this award either, beating out Euro 2016’s Champions Portugal who received just 9% of the votes. There has never been a greater achievement in the history of football as Claudio Ranieri in his first year at the club managed to take a team of mid-table type players and lead them all the way to Premier League glory in arguably the greatest moment the Premier League has ever seen. Leicester lost just three games the entire season on their way to winning the Premier League title and won every single award imaginable from Players’ Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez to FWA Player of the Year Jamie Vardy to Manager of the Year Claudio Ranieri. Leicester City winning the Premier League title in spectacular circumstances just had to be the winner for Best Moment of 2016.
THANK YOU FOR VOTING!
It has been a truly unforgettable and incredible time writing this blog this year and has opened up my eyes to all kinds of new avenues. I cannot wait to continue writing all of next year and hopefully create more stunning content that will keep you coming back. There will be more Team of the Week’s, new Top 100’s, of course more Annual Rankings and so much more to keep you entertained all year long. Thank you for participating in the content on this site and voting on The Mastermind Awards, I cannot wait to see you again next year.