Ranking the Top 6 Players With the Most Man of the Match Awards in Football History

Ranking the Top 6 Players With the Most Man of the Match Awards in Football History

Isaac Darko
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
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C. Ronaldo
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  • Football functions as a team sport yet certain individuals merit acknowledgment
  • FIFA introduced the Man of the Match award starting from the 2002 World Cup
  • Sports Brief looks at the players with the highest number of best player awards

The Man of the Match recognition is bestowed upon the most outstanding performer in a specific game.

This honour symbolically recognises the profound influence an individual has exerted on the result of the match.

A player who consistently garners this accolade not only showcases remarkable skill but also emphasises their ability to deliver crucial performances when called upon.

Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard, and Cristiano Ronaldo have earned the most man-of-the-match awards in football.
Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard, and Cristiano Ronaldo have earned the most man-of-the-match awards in football. Photo by Darren Walsh.
Source: Getty Images

In this analysis, Sports Brief looks at the achievements of five football players who have accumulated the most Man-of-the-Match awards, highlighting their consistent excellence and significant contributions to the sport.

Most MOTM awards in football

6. Neymar - 90 awards

Neymar recently concluded his European stint after being a constant source of entertainment at Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

His global stardom soared, especially after his initial move to Barca, considering his performances and match awards while at Santos.

While the quality of Ligue 1 is sometimes debated, Neymar's time with PSG since 2017 provided him with some perks, per Sky Sports.

Despite any league critique, there's no denying his captivating style both in Spain as part of the iconic MSN trio and with other clubs.

5. Robert Lewandowski - 96 awards

Lewandowski's exemplary performances for prominent football clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona - as well as his contributions to the success of the Polish national team - place him a touch above.

Demonstrating an unwavering commitment to excellence, he has become a true icon in the world of football and his influence extends beyond individual brilliance, encompassing both breathtaking goals and selfless team play.

A testament to his outstanding contributions, Lewandowski has accumulated a remarkable total of 96 MOTM awards, underscoring not only his individual prowess but also the impact he consistently brings to the team collective.

The Polish veteran's journey with various top-tier clubs and national competitions is as a testament to his versatility, dedication, and enduring significance as one of the most formidable and influential footballers of his generation.

4. Eden Hazard - 100 awards

Hazard's exceptional vision and extraordinary playmaking abilities not only positioned him as a formidable goal-scorer, but also elevated him to the status of a consistent provider of crucial assists and a master orchestrator of offensive manoeuvres.

His impactful tenure with Chelsea, complemented by a collection of individual accolades and team trophies, served as a testament to his profound influence, firmly establishing him as a standout attacking force in the contemporary football landscape.

As evidence of his stellar performances, the recently retired Belgian can proudly boast an impressive tally of 100 Man of the Match awards, despite his stint with Real Madrid falling far short of the potential he showcased while playing for the Blues of that era.

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 116 awards

Ibrahimovic embarked on a prolific journeyman career, showcasing his talents across some of Europe's most prominent clubs.

He left his indelible mark at Ajax Amsterdam, Juventus, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, and Inter Milan.

The Swedish maestro, who retired earlier this year, per CNN, accumulated an impressive 116 awards throughout his lengthy career.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo - 176 awards

Ronaldo stands as a contender for the title of the greatest goal-scorer in the annals of the sport. His moniker of 'Mr. Champions League' is well-deserved, given his accomplishments in Europe's premier competition. He holds the record for the highest goal tally (140) and most goals in the knockout stages (67).

Regarded as one of the all-time football greats, the Portuguese icon's career is punctuated by a plethora of awe-inspiring moments captured in many highlight reels. Currently plying his trade for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, he boasts an impressive count of 176 match awards throughout his illustrious career.

1. Lionel Messi - 395 awards

Messi, an eight-time Ballon d'Or recipient, is another compelling candidate for the title of the greatest footballer in history. His exceptional skills have consistently set him apart, and he has often been the driving force behind his teams' triumphs.

The iconic figure from Barcelona, now showcasing his talent with MLS franchise, Inter Miami, has amassed an astounding 395 Man of the Match awards in his illustrious career. Notably, this impressive tally places him 219 awards ahead of Ronaldo.

Such a substantial margin underscores the profound impact the Argentine maestro has had as a game-changer for both his club and country throughout his stellar career.

6 greatest defenders in Premier League history

Sports Brief has also compiled a list of the top six defenders of the Premier League Era, who certainly made their mark on the English top flight.

From captains who led their teams to titles triumphs to outstanding full-backs, the Premier League has witnessed an array of defensive prowess.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)