IHF World Player of the Year

The IHF World Player of the Year is a handball award given annually to the player who is considered to have performed the best in the previous season, both at club and international competitions. It is awarded based on votes from experts, media and fans.

IHF World Player of the Year
CompetitionInternational Handball
Awarded forBest Performance in International Handball Competitions
First award1988
Most wins Cristina Neagu
(4 awards)
Most recentMen: Niklas Landin Jacobsen (1st title)
Women: Stine Bredal Oftedal (1st title)


The award was awarded by IHF since 1988 in both Men's and Women's Category separately.

No award was awarded in the years 1991, 1992, 1993 and 2017.[1][2]


1988Veselin Vujović YugoslaviaLeft back
1989Kang Jae-Won South KoreaRight back
1990Magnus Wislander SwedenCenter back
1991 No vote
1994Talant Dujshebaev RussiaCentre back
1995Jackson Richardson FranceCentre back
1996Talant Dujshebaev (2) SpainCentre back
1997Stéphane Stoecklin FranceRight back
1998Daniel Stephan GermanyLeft back
1999Rafael Guijosa SpainLeft wing
2000Dragan Škrbić FR YugoslaviaLine player
2001Yoon Kyung-Shin South KoreaRight back
2002Bertrand Gille FranceLine player
2003Ivano Balić CroatiaCentre back
2004Henning Fritz GermanyGoalkeeper
2005Arpad Šterbik Serbia and MontenegroGoalkeeper
2006Ivano Balić (2) CroatiaCentre back
2007Nikola Karabatić FranceCentre back
2008Thierry Omeyer FranceGoalkeeper[3]
2009Sławomir Szmal PolandGoalkeeper[4]
2010Filip Jícha Czech RepublicLeft back[5]
2011Mikkel Hansen DenmarkLeft back[6]
2012Daniel Narcisse FranceCentre back[7]
2013Domagoj Duvnjak CroatiaCentre back
2014Nikola Karabatić (2) FranceCentre back
2015Mikkel Hansen (2) DenmarkLeft back
2016Nikola Karabatić (3) FranceCentre back
2017Not awarded
2018Mikkel Hansen (3) DenmarkLeft back[8]
2019Niklas Landin Jacobsen DenmarkGoalkeeper[9]


1988Svetlana Kitić YugoslaviaCentre back
1989Kim Hyun-Mee South Korea
1990Jasna Kolar-Merdan AustriaLeft back
1991 No vote
1994Mia Hermansson SwedenCentre back
1995Erzsébet Kocsis HungaryLine player
1996Lim O-Kyeong South KoreaCentre back
1997Anja Andersen DenmarkLeft back
1998Trine Haltvik NorwayCentre back
1999Ausra Fridrikas AustriaLeft back
2000Bojana Radulović HungaryRight back
2001Cecilie Leganger NorwayGoalkeeper
2002Zhai Chao ChinaCentre back
2003Bojana Radulović (2) HungaryRight back
2004Anita Kulcsár HungaryLine player
2005Anita Görbicz HungaryCentre back
2006Nadine Krause GermanyLeft back
2007Gro Hammerseng NorwayCentre back
2008Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth[10] NorwayRight wing
2009Allison Pineau[11] FranceCentre back
2010Cristina Neagu[5] RomaniaLeft back
2011Heidi Løke[6] NorwayLine player
2012Alexandra do Nascimento[7] BrazilRight wing
2013Andrea Lekić SerbiaCentre back
2014Eduarda Amorim BrazilLeft back
2015Cristina Neagu (2) RomaniaLeft back
2016Cristina Neagu (3) RomaniaLeft back
2017Not awarded
2018Cristina Neagu[8] (4) RomaniaLeft back
2019Stine Bredal Oftedal[9] NorwayCentre back

Previous awards

While the IHF has only reported awards since 1988, other players have been voted best players in the world before.

Thus, the Romanian Ștefan Birtalan was elected World Player of the Year in 1974, 1976 and 1977.[12] And Ioan Moser of Romania was also named "Best Handball Player in the World” in 1964.[13]

Best players of all time

In 1992, Gheorghe Gruia of Romania was named Best Player of All Time by the International Handball Federation.[14][15]

In 2000, the Swedish Magnus Wislander and the Ukrainian Zinaida Turchyna were elected Players of the 20th Century by the IHF.[16][17]

Additionally, in 2010 Ivano Balić of Croatia and Svetlana Kitić of Yugoslavia were voted by the website users the Best Players Ever, but they were not named directly by the IHF.[18][19]

Team of the century

In 2000, the official bulletin of the International Handball Federation, World Handball Magazine, chose Gheorghe Gruia, Ioan Moser and Cornel Penu as members of the "Team of the Century".[20]

Other awards

In 2010, the fans voted Thierry Omeyer as world's best goalkeeper ever.[21] And in 2011, the fans voted for Luminița Dinu (born Huțupan) as best female goalkeeper ever.[22]

Previously in 2009, Steffen Fäth and Cristina Neagu respectively won Rookie of the Year award for male and female.[23]

See also


  1. "Bad luck for Andy Schmid: the election of the world handball player fails". NewsBeezer. 17 June 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  2. "Overview: previous world handball player of the year – both male and female". handball-world. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  3. "Player of the Year – Men 2008". IHF. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  4. "Player of the Year – Men 2009". IHF. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  5. "Neagu and Jicha World Handball Players of the Year 2010". IHF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  6. "Heidi Løke and Mikkel Hansen World Handball Players of the Year 2011". International Handball Federation. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  7. "Alexandra do Nascimento and Daniel Narcisse are GRUNDFOS World Handball Players of the Year 2012". International Handball Federation. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  8. "Neagu and Hansen named 2018 World Players of the Year". International Handball Federation. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  9. "Oftedal and Landin named 2019 IHF World Players of the Year". IHF. 18 July 2020.
  10. "Player of the Year – Women 2008". IHF. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  11. "Player of the Year – Women 2009". IHF. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  12. "HANDBALL LEGEND AMAZED BY CL FINAL". ehfcl.com. Archived from the original on 11 August 2017. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  13. "Einst verfemt, jetzt Ehrenbürger" (in German). Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  14. "Handball World Mourns the Loss of Icon, Friend & Teacher". ihf.info. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  15. "Gheorghe Gruia: La zurda rumana que dominó el mundo" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  16. "Wislander "Welt-Handballer des Jahrhunderts"" (in German). thw-handball.de. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  17. "Турчина — лучшая гандболистка века" (in Russian). kommersant.ru. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  18. Ivano Balic voted best male player ever
  19. Svetlana Kitic voted best female player ever
  20. "Geschichten rund um den Handball in Siebenbürgen (XIV)" (in German). Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  21. Voting of the IHF users: Omeyer world’s best goalkeeper
  22. Fans vote for Luminita Dinu as best female goalkeeper ever
  23. Neagu, “World’s best Rookie of the Year 2009”