FIFA Best Men’s Player of the Year 2023: who else is in shortlist along with World Cup winner Lionel Messi?
Lionel Messi will compete with PSG teammate and Real Madrid star for FIFA award
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FIFA have announced their shortlist for the men’s Best Player of the Year Award with World Cup winner Lionel Messi the bookies’ favourite to take home the prestigious award. He is joined in the final three by fellow Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe and the Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
14 football stars were nominated for Best FIFA Men’s Player and and had been chosen by a panel of experts and from this group, three finalists were selected from an international jury comprising of four groups: men’s national team coaches, men’s national team captains, men’s football journalists and fans who voted on FIFA’s official website.
Fifa’s ‘The Best’ awards cover games played between 8 August 2021 and 18 December 2022 and thus included the recent World Cup in Qatar in which Mbappe won the Golden Boot and his PSG rival won Player of the tournament.
Messi, Mbappe and Benzema will find out their fate on 27 February along with the Best Women’s FIFA Player of the Year nominees Beth Mead, Alex Morgan and Alexia Putellas.
Here is a look at the three nominees...
Messi now has every trophy under his belt after his country won the FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar in December. Not only did Argentina lift the World Cup, but Messi scored seven goals and won the adidas Golden Ball in the process.
The 35-year-old is Argentina’s all-time top scorer and broke the World Cup appearance record in December as well. He scored only 11 goals in 34 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain in 2022 but his efforts for his country place have put him high on the bookies’ list to win.
The World Cup arguably became a two-way battle between Messi and Mbappe. The two PSG strikers battled it out right until the final minute and, although the Argentinian came out on top, the Frenchman won the Golden Boot and made scoring look easy.
He now has 12 goals from 12 World Cup games for France and the only loss his side have had while he’s been playing the full 90 minutes in the two World Cups he’s been playing, was the 2022 final.
Mbappe, 24, is a regular fixture in the Champions League Team of the Season and 2022 saw the striker score 56 goals in as many games, ending the year as football’s top scorer.
One of the biggest upsets at the World Cup was Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema was unable to compete due to injury but the 35-year-old had an unbelievable 2021-22 season which saw him take home the Ballon d’Or trophy.
The striker registered 45 goals and 15 assists in 46 appearances. He was the La Liga and UEFA Champions League top scorer as well as winning the Player of the Season in both his league and UCL tournament and was detrimental in helping his club to win their 14th Champions League trophy.
His 10 goals in the 2021-22 Champions League season now sees him tied with former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo for the top most goals in a single campaign. He now sits second behind Ronaldo in Real’s list of all-time goalscorers and his manager, Carlo Ancelotti, is urging the club to agree a new contract with the French veteran to keep him at the club next season.