Trophies were handed out to some of the biggest names in football last night, as the Best FIFA Football Awards played out in Milan.
Among those picking up awards was Megan Rapinoe, the recently recrowned World Cup winner who continues to use her status to challenge equalities in our sport. Collecting the award for women’s player of the year, her acceptance speech addressed issues of racism, homophobia and sexism in football, encouraging those present to use their own platform to empower others.
Megan Rapinoe said: “Some of the stories that inspired me this year are Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly – their incredible performances on the field and their reaction to the disgusting racism they have to face, this year but probably for their whole lives.
“I feel like if we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring would be if everybody other than Sterling and Koulibaly were as outraged about racism as they were.
“If everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players, if everybody was as outraged about equal pay or the lack thereof, or the lack of investment in the women’s game, other than just women, that would be the most inspiring thing to me.
“We have such an incredible opportunity being professional footballers, so much success, an incredible platform.
“I ask everyone here, lend your platform to other people, share your success. We have a unique opportunity to use this game to actually change the world for better. I hope you take that to heart, do something, we have incredible power in this room.”
Elsewhere on the night, Lionel Messi picked up yet another award as he was crown the men’s player of the year ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk.