Messi, Haaland, Mbappe lead FIFA’s The Best award shortlist

Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé lead the 12-player shortlist for FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player nominees, with England midfielder Declan Rice also nominated after captaining former club West Ham United to Europa Conference League success.

Argentina captain Messi, now playing for MLS side Inter Miami, is aiming to win the award for a record third time having been given the honour in 2019 and 2022.

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But despite helping Argentina to World Cup glory at Qatar 2022, Messi faces stiff competition from Manchester City forward Haaland after the Norway international scored 52 goals as Pep Guardiola’s side completed a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble last season.

Julián Álvarez, Marcelo Brozovic, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gündogan, Rodri, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Victor Osimhen and Bernardo Silva make up the shortlist alongside Messi, Haaland, Mbappe and Rice.

Spain, who won the Women’s World Cup for the first time in Australia last month, have four players on the 12-name shortlist for women’s award with Aitana Bonmatí, Jenni Hermoso, Mapi León and Salma Paralluelo all in the race to succeed La Roja midfielder Alexia Putellas by winning the trophy.

Linda Caicedo, Rachel Daly, Kadidiatou Diani, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Alex Greenwood, Amanda Ilestedt, Lauren James, Sam Kerr, Hinata Miyazawa and Keira Walsh are also nominated, with Lindsey Horan the only United States player making it onto the shortlist.

Voting for the eighth annual awards opened on Thursday on and closes in mid-October. National team coaches, captains, journalists and fans make up the list of voters.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.