The 2014 Fotbollsgalan offered few surprises as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lotta School won the top prizes at the annual Swedish soccer awards ceremony. The 32-year-old Ibrahimovic won the Golden Ball as the top male football player for the ninth time while Schelin, 31, won her fifth Diamond Ball as the top female player.
Both players set records this year for international scoring as Zlatan eclipsed Sven Rydell’s mark of 49 goals while Schelin broke Hanna Ljungberg’s record of 72 goals. Ibrahimovic was particularly humble in accepting his award, as he paid homage to Klas Ingesson and Pontus Kamark, both of whom died of cancer in 2014.
“What do you say after nine gold balls? I do not think there's much to say, they speak for themselves. I'm still living my childhood dream when it comes to football. All the Gold Balls and prizes I get is a proof that you have done something good and are good at what you do. But it ends up in the shadow of what happened to Klas and Pontus. I myself had a brother who passed away a few months ago in a similar illness,” he said, “so there's a life on the side that is much more important than this. May they rest in peace, and a big thanks to everyone who helped me on the field, off the field. Without you, this is not possible. Thank you.”
Schelin admitted she was somewhat surprised to win her award,
“It almost feels unreal, getting the Diamantboll a fifth time. It's really something I'm very happy about,” she said. “It is always a bit complicated with individual prizes when you are engaged in team sports. I get it means I have kept a high level and it is the fifth time means I've done it for many years. This is precisely what makes me so proud and thankful. The Diamantboll is not something you expect to get. The competition is fierce, so it feels great.”
Schelin and Ibrahimovic also won the Forward of the Year honors.
Caroline Seger and Albin Ekdal won Midfielder of the Year, Nilla Fischer and Andreas Granqvist Defender of the Year and Andreas Isaksson and Helvig Lindahl won Goalkeeper of the Year.
For all the winners and the jury’s reasoning, see