Messi Headlines the Shortlist for FIFA Best Men’s Player Award

By: Gyang Dakwo

Argentina featured heavily in shortlists for FIFA’s Best awards following their World Cup triumph, with forwards Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and coach Lionel Scaloni receiving nominations in their categories.

Messi, along with his Paris St Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, are among the 14 players shortlisted for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award, the world governing body said on Thursday.

The trio is joined by last year’s winner Robert Lewandowski of Barcelona, Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, and PSG’s Neymar and Achraf Hakimi. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, who won the 2022 Ballon d’Or award, is also on the shortlist.

In the women’s award, Barca and Arsenal dominate with three players each including Alexia Putellas, Keira Walsh, and Aitana Bonmati for the Spanish champions while the English side is represented by Leah Williamson, Vivianne Miedema, and Beth Mead.

Putellas makes it into the shortlist despite missing much of last year due to a knee ligament injury while Chelsea duo Sam Kerr and Jessie Fleming and Olympique Lyonnais’ Ada Hegerberg and Wendie Renard also make the cut.

In the coaches’ category Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola are nominated for the men’s award, along with Argentina’s Scaloni, France boss Didier Deschamps and Morocco manager Walid Regragui.

Sarina Wiegman, who led England to last year’s European Championship title, is joined on The Best FIFA Women’s Coach Shortlist by Chelsea’s Emma Hayes and Germany manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.

For goalkeepers Liverpool’s Alisson Becker, Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois, and Aston Villa’s Martinez are among the nominees for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper award.

FIFA also announced an 11-player shortlist for this year’s Puskas Award for the “most beautiful” goal of the year, with Mbappe’s spectacular volley against Argentina in the World Cup final among the nominees.

FIFA will announce the three finalists in each of the categories listed above in early February this year.