Paris Saint-Germain stars, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe are among the candidates for FIFA’s The Best Player award for the previous year, the world football’s governing body announced on Thursday, following their outstanding World Cup performances.
Messi, who has previously won the award, led Argentina to victory in Qatar, a victory that defined his career and increased his chances of winning an eighth Ballon d’Or while possibly making him the favorite to win this award.
Mbappe, who scored three goals in the World Cup final, is one of three Paris Saint-Germain players nominated, along with Neymar and Achraf Hakimi.
Both Robert Lewandowski, who won the FIFA award in the previous two years, and Karim Benzema, who took home the Ballon d’Or last year for his performances with Real Madrid, are up for nomination.
Julian Alvarez, Kevin De Bruyne, and Erling Haaland of Manchester City, Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Jude Bellingham round out the list of nominees.
Despite missing the last six months of play due to injury, Alexia Putellas is a nominee for the women’s best player award.
The midfielder for Barcelona and Spain won the prize the previous year and kept it in October.
The Ballon d’Or runner-up Beth Mead of Arsenal and Leah Williamson and Keira Walsh of the England team that won the European Championship on home soil are also up for nominations.
Additional awards include the Puskas Award for the best goal of 2022, the best goalkeeper, and the best male and female coaches.
The three finalists in each category will be chosen by a public vote, which is open until February 3.
The winner is then chosen by a jury composed of journalists, national team captains, coaches, and fans.
Best FIFA Men’s Player Nominees
Below is the list of the nominees:
- Julián Álvarez
- Jude Bellingham
- Karim Benzema
- Kevin De Bruyne
- Erling Haaland
- Achraf Hakimi
- Robert Lewandowski
- Sadio Mané
- Kylian Mbappé
- Lionel Messi
- Luka Modrić