The 12-player shortlist for FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player candidates includes Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland, and Kylian Mbappé, with England midfielder Declan Rice also nominated after captaining previous side West Ham United to Europa Conference League triumph.
Argentina captain Messi, who now plays for MLS club Inter Miami, is attempting to win the trophy for a record third time after receiving it in 2019 and 2022.
Despite helping Argentina win the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, Messi will have heavy opposition from Manchester City striker Haaland, who scored 52 goals as Pep Guardiola’s team won the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup last season.
Along with Messi, Haaland, Mbappe, and Rice, the shortlist includes Julián lvarez, Marcelo Brozovic, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gündogan, Rodri, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Victor Osimhen, and Bernardo Silva.
Spain, which won the Women’s World Cup for the first time last month in Australia, has four players on the 12-name shortlist for the women’s award, with Aitana Bonmat, Jenni Hermoso, Mapi León, and Salma Paralluelo all vying to succeed La Roja midfielder Alexia Putellas.
Lindsey Horan is the only American on the shortlist, along with Linda Caicedo, Rachel Daly, Kadidiatou Diani, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Alex Greenwood, Amanda Ilestedt, Lauren James, Sam Kerr, Hinata Miyazawa, and Keira Walsh.
The voting period for the eighth annual FIFA Awards began on Thursday and will end in mid-October on FIFA.com. The voters include national team coaches, captains, journalists, and fans.