Player of the match

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In team sport, a player of the match or man of the match or woman of the match[1][2] award is often given to the most outstanding player in a particular match. This can be a player from either team, although the player is generally chosen from the winning team.

Some sports have unique traditions regarding these awards, and they are especially sought after in championship or all-star games. In Australia, the term "best and fairest" is normally used, both for individual games and season-long awards. In some competitions, particularly in North America, the terms "most valuable player" (MVP) or "most outstanding player" (MOP) are used. In ice hockey in North America, three players of the game, called the "three stars", are recognised.

In sports where playoffs are decided by series rather than individual games, such as professional basketball and baseball, MVP awards are commonly given for the series, and in ice hockey's NHL, for performance in the entire playoffs.

Association football[edit]

In football, the "player of the match" (POTM) or the "man of the match" (MOTM) award typically goes to a player on the winning side. Players who score a hat-trick, or goalkeepers who keep a clean sheet under pressure often get the award. Hat-trick scorers usually receive the match ball whether or not they are officially named player of the match.

The player of the match is often chosen by a television commentator or a sponsor.[3] However, not all competitions have an official player of the match award, so sometimes accolades are given by websites or newspapers instead. In the Premier League, for example, a player receives a small black and gold trophy for their player of the match performance.[4]

Lionel Messi playing for Barcelona in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup Final, in which he won the man of the match award.

Records and statistics[edit]

Men's football[edit]

Most POTM wins at FIFA World Cup (since 2002)[5][edit]

As of 19 December 2022

Rank Player Wins World Cup(s) with awards
1 Argentina Lionel Messi 11 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022
2 Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo 7 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022
3 Netherlands Arjen Robben 6 2006, 2010, 2014
4 France Kylian Mbappé 5 2018, 2022
Croatia Luka Modrić 2018, 2022
Uruguay Luis Suárez 2010, 2014, 2018
7 France Antoine Griezmann 4 2018, 2022
Belgium Eden Hazard 2014, 2018
Japan Keisuke Honda 2010, 2014
England Harry Kane 2018, 2022
Germany Miroslav Klose 2002, 2006
Germany Thomas Müller 2010, 2014
Brazil Neymar 2014, 2018, 2022
South Korea Park Ji-sung 2002, 2006, 2010
Colombia James Rodríguez 2014, 2018
Netherlands Wesley Sneijder 2010
Most POTM wins (since 2009)[6][edit]
  1. Lionel Messi – 324 (50% of matches)
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo – 175 (35% of matches)
  3. Zlatan Ibrahimović – 116 (26% of matches)
  4. Eden Hazard – 100 (19% of matches)
  5. Neymar – 87 (28% of matches)
  6. Robert Lewandowski – 86 (17% of matches)
  7. Harry Kane – 79 (21% of matches)
  8. Kevin De Bruyne – 76 (18% of matches)
  9. Gareth Bale – 73 (17% of matches)
  10. Luis Suárez – 72 (16% of matches)
  11. Antoine Griezmann – 70 (13% of matches)
  12. Karim Benzema – 70 (12% of matches)
  13. Dimitri Payet – 67 (14% of matches)
  14. Memphis Depay – 66 (18% of matches)
  15. Alexis Sánchez – 64 (14% of matches)
  16. Gonzalo Higuaín – 60 (12% of matches)
  17. Nabil Fekir – 58 (20% of matches)
  18. Kylian Mbappé – 57 (22% of matches)
  19. Arjen Robben – 57 (20% of matches)
  20. Paul Pogba – 57 (14% of matches)
Most POTM wins by league (since 2009)[7][edit]

Premier League: Eden Hazard (62)

La Liga: Lionel Messi (196)

Ligue 1: Zlatan Ibrahimović (42)

Bundesliga: Marco Reus (48)

Serie A: Alejandro Gómez (38)

Women's football[edit]

Most POTM wins at FIFA Women's World Cup (since 2003)[edit]

Australian rules football[edit]

In Australian rules football, the player of the game is often referred to as having been the "best on ground" (or "BOG"). Media outlets provide immediate, unofficial recognition that is largely honorary, often on a 5–4–3–2–1 or 3–2–1 voting basis.[citation needed] Officially, the AFL recognises the player of the game as being the player awarded the maximum three votes by umpires in the Brownlow Medal count at season's end. Exceptions are made during the season for certain reserved games such as the Western Derby, The ANZAC Day clash, QClash, and Showdown, where medallions are officially rewarded in presentations following the conclusion of the match. On the day of the AFL Grand Final, a player will be awarded the Norm Smith Medal as being the best on ground voted by an independent panel of Australian rules football experts.[8]


In cricket, the man of the match award became a regular feature in Test matches in the mid 1980s.[9] The man of the match title is usually awarded to the player whose contribution is seen as the most critical in winning the game.

In one match held on 3 April 1996, the whole team from New Zealand was awarded the Men of the Match award. It was the first instance when a whole team was awarded it.[10] In a test match played between 15,16,17,18 January 1999 between South Africa vs West Indies, the whole South African team was awarded man of the match.[11]

In Test matches, Jacques Kallis holds the record for the highest number of awards won, with 23 in 166 matches played.[9] In ODIs, Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for the highest number of man of the match titles, with 62 awards in 463 matches played.[12] Tendulkar is followed by Sanath Jayasuriya, who, along with Ricky Ponting, also holds the record for the most Man of the Match titles as captain.[13] In the shortest form of the game, T20 Internationals, this record is held by Virat Kohli, who has won 15 awards in 115 matches.

Gaelic games[edit]

In the Gaelic games of hurling and Gaelic football, the "man of the match" (Irish: Laoch na hImeartha,[14] "hero of the game") is commonly awarded after important games. An unusual example was the 2008 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final, where the award was given to Brian Cody, the Kilkenny manager, rather than to a player.[15]

In the women's sports of camogie and ladies' Gaelic football, the term "player of the match" (Irish: Laoch na hImeartha, "hero of the game") is used instead.[16][17][18][19]

Ice hockey[edit]

In North American ice hockey, the three players who perform best in the game, often either those who accumulate the most points or outstanding goaltenders, are usually designated the three stars of the game: the top-performing player is the "first star", and so on. This tradition originated in the 1930s as a promotion for a "Three Star" brand of gasoline.[20]

However, in international play (and outside North America), the three stars concept is rarely used. Instead, other leagues may issue awards to one player who performed best in the game.

Rugby football[edit]

Both codes of rugby, rugby league and rugby union, commonly have man of the match or player of the match awards. In televised or sponsored matches, a commentator or sponsor often decides who gets the award, and it is presented to the winner after the match.

Examples of man of the match awards in professional men's rugby league are the Clive Churchill Medal in the National Rugby League Grand Final, the Karyn Murphy Medal in the NRL Women's Grand Final, the Lance Todd Trophy in the Challenge Cup final and the Harry Sunderland Trophy in the Super League Grand Final.

College basketball and gridiron football[edit]

In college basketball and college football, the two collegiate sports with the most television coverage in the United States, a top player from each team is usually honoured as "players of the game." These athletes usually cannot collect material prizes due to NCAA regulations. Instead, television companies broadcasting the game or corporate sponsors will often make donations to the scholarship funds of each school in the names of the winning players.[citation needed]

In college basketball's Final Four events, a Most Outstanding Player award is given, for performance across both the semi-final and championship game. A Most Outstanding Player award is also given for each of the four regionals, based upon performances in the regional semifinals (Sweet Sixteen) and final (Elite Eight).

Gridiron football[edit]

The National Football League names an MVP for two prominent games on its schedule:

  • A Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award has been awarded at each Super Bowl (the NFL's championship).
  • The Pro Bowl has had an MVP award throughout its existence. The current Pro Bowl MVP format selects one offensive and one defensive player. From 1956–1971, two MVP awards were given, one to a skill position and the other to a lineman or linebacker. In 1972, an offensive and defensive MVP were named. From 1973–2012, a single Pro Bowl MVP was chosen.

Individual games typically have an informal player (or players) of the game chosen by the broadcast network covering the game; one prominent example of this phenomenon is the Turkey Leg Award, All-Iron Award and Galloping Gobbler trophies awarded for games held on Thanksgiving.

The Canadian Football League awards two MVP awards for its championship game, the Grey Cup. The Grey Cup Most Valuable Player award is open to all players; the Dick Suderman Trophy is limited to players with Canadian citizenship or who were raised in Canada since childhood.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "man of the match - definition of man of the match in English - Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries - English. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016.
  2. ^ "woman of the match - definition of woman of the match in English - Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries - English.[dead link]
  3. ^ Hawkins, Si (27 February 2008). "Football: The problem with man of the match awards". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 March 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  4. ^ "How the Premier League's monthly awards work". Archived from the original on 4 February 2017.
  5. ^ "FIFA World Cup Man of the Match Winners List".
  6. ^ "The 20 players with the most Man-of-the-Match awards since 2009 - Leo Messi's total is bonkers". GiveMeSport. 22 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Most man of the match awards by league since 2009/10".
  8. ^ "Norm Smith Medal -". Archived from the original on 16 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Records / Test matches / Individual records (captains, players, umpires) /Most player-of-the-match awards". ESPN Cricinfo. ESPN Sports Media. Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  10. ^ "4th ODI: West Indies v New Zealand at Georgetown, Apr 3, 1996 | Cricket Scorecard | ESPN Cricinfo". ESPN Cricinfo. ESPN. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  11. ^ "5th Test, West Indies tour of South Africa at Centurion, Jan 15-18 1999 - Match Summary - ESPNCricinfo". ESPNcricinfo. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012.
  12. ^ "Records / One-Day Internationals / Individual records (captains, players, umpires) /Most player-of-the-match awards". ESPN Cricinfo. ESPN Sports Media. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Records / One-Day Internationals / Individual records (captains, players, umpires) / Most player-of-the-match awards". Archived from the original on 2 September 2012.
  14. ^ "man of the match - Translation to Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation of translations for man of the match by New English-Irish Dictionary". Archived from the original on 17 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Bookie pays out on man of the match bets -". Archived from the original on 17 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Fiona scoops player of the match award – The Clare Champion". December 2011. Archived from the original on 17 August 2017.
  17. ^ "Ereena Fryday receives her player of the match award from Catherine Neary 12/2/2017". Archived from the original on 17 August 2017.
  18. ^ Cahill, Jackie (14 August 2017). "Shine hails impact of teen star O'Donoghue".
  19. ^ Cahill, Jackie (12 August 2017). "Dublin overcome plucky Waterford to reach final four". RTÉ.ie. Archived from the original on 17 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Top 10 hockey gimmicks... or if you prefer, innovations". 15 June 2006. Archived from the original on 15 June 2006.