PARIS (Reuters): Argentina forward Lionel Messi is on the shortlist for the FIFA Best Male Player award, joined by Paris St Germain team mate Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, soccer’s world governing body announced on Friday.
Messi could win his second The Best trophy after leading Argentina to their third World Cup title by beating Mbappe’s France in last year’s final in Qatar, scoring seven goals during the tournament and earning his second Golden ball.
World Cup Golden Boot winner Mbappe and France’s 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Benzema feature for the first time among the three finalists.
Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas could claim the Best Women’s Player award for the second year in a row despite being sidelined since July with a knee injury.
Forward Beth Mead is also nominated after leading England to the Euro 2022 title as the tournament’s leading scorer and best player of the tournament.
United States forward Alex Morgan, who was a finalist in 2019, completes the list.
The winners will be announced on Feb. 27 during a ceremony in Paris.