Lionel Messi was the star attraction as FIFA unveiled this year’s shortlist for its “The Best” awards which heavily featured players from Argentina.
Julian Alvarez, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and coach Lionel Scaloni, all part of Agentina’s successful World Cup campaign, also find themselves on the shortlist of their respective categories.
Joining Messi for “The Best FIFA Men’s Player award” are the likes of his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City’s goal-machine Erling Haaland.
The 14 players shortlisted also include the names of last year’s winner Robert Lewandowski of Barcelona, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and PSG’s Neymar and Achraf Hakimi as well as Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, who won the 2022 Ballon d’Or.
Julian Alvarez, Jude Bellingham, Sadio Mane, Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior complete the list.
Messi and Mbappe are the two likeliest candidates to win the award after battling each other in the World Cup final for the ages.
Barcelona and Arsenal dominate the women’s award with three players each.
Alexia Putellas, Keira Walsh and Aitana Bonmati represent the Spanish champions while the English side is represented by Leah Williamson, Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead.
Debinha, Jessie Fleming, Ada Hegerberg, Sam Kerr, Alex Morgan, Lena Oberdorf, Alexandra Popp, and Wendie Renard also make the cut.
Carlo Ancelotti, Didier Deschamps, Pep Guardiola, Walid Regragui, and Lionel Scaloni will vie for the Best Men’s coach while Sonia Bompastor, Emma Hayes, Bev Priestman, Pia Sundhage, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, and Sarina Wiegman are up for women’s coach award.
Álisson Becker, Yassine Bounou, Thibaut Courtois, Ederson, Emiliano Martínez are up for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper award.
FIFA said it will announce the three finalists in each category in early February.
The complete list of the awards can be found here.