As Lionel Messi continues to dazzle the football world with his exceptional skills and contributions, he finds himself nominated for yet another prestigious award: the FIFA Player of the Year. This nomination comes hot on the heels of Messi’s World Cup triumph with Argentina, which not only marked a crowning achievement in his career but also opened the door to numerous individual accolades. In addition to his recent nomination for the Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi is now vying for the coveted ‘FIFA Best Men’s Player’ award for 2023.
FIFA Player of the Year Award 2023: Lionel Messi and Other Top Contenders
Joining Lionel Messi in this illustrious race are two other footballing sensations, French forward Kylian Mbappe and Norwegian star Arling Haaland. FIFA, the global governing body of football, recently unveiled a list of 12 nominees for this prestigious award, setting the stage for a thrilling showdown.
Notable Absences: Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr.
Interestingly, two of football’s most iconic figures, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazilian sensation Neymar Jr., are notably absent from the list of nominees. Instead, it’s the Manchester City stars who dominated last season’s treble-winning campaign that feature prominently in the FIFA nominations. This shift in the football landscape is indicative of the dynamic nature of the sport, where new talents continually emerge and redefine the hierarchy.
Argentina’s Strong Presence
Argentina, Lionel Messi’s homeland, boasts a strong representation on the list of nominees, with two players making the cut. Messi’s compatriot and Manchester City star, Julian Alvarez, is set to compete for the award alongside the iconic forward. Argentina’s success in both the World Cup and the club scene has undoubtedly contributed to this impressive representation.
The Case for Arling Haaland
Arling Haaland’s inclusion in the list comes as no surprise. The Norwegian sensation played a pivotal role in Manchester City’s treble-winning season, amassing an incredible 52 goals in the previous campaign. Such an outstanding goal-scoring record naturally earns him a place among the top contenders for the FIFA Player of the Year award.
Kylian Mbappe: A World Cup Hero
Kylian Mbappe, the young French prodigy, etched his name in history with a memorable World Cup performance. He scored a hat-trick for France in the World Cup final against Messi’s Argentina, solidifying his reputation as one of the sport’s brightest talents. Mbappe’s exploits for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) further strengthen his claim to the FIFA Player of the Year title.
Decline Rice’s Surprise Inclusion
One of the more surprising inclusions on the list is English midfielder Declan Rice. Despite not playing for a club in the upper echelons of European football, Rice’s impressive performances have earned him a spot among the elite. He secured the Conference League title with Premier League club West Ham United last year, and subsequently, Arsenal secured his services in a high-profile transfer.
Manchester City Dominance
Apart from Lionel Messi and Haaland, three more Manchester City stars make their presence felt on the FIFA Player of the Year nominee list. Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, Portuguese standout Bernardo Silva, and German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who recently joined Barcelona, are all recognized for their contributions to their respective teams.
Additionally, Spanish midfielder Rodri adds to the City contingent, underlining the club’s dominance in recent times. The remaining nominees include Marcelo Brozovic, Khvicha Kavratskheliya, and Viktor Oshimen, rounding out the list of elite players in contention for the prestigious award.
The FIFA Player of the Year award remains one of the most coveted individual honors in football, recognizing excellence, skill, and contributions to the sport. As the 2023 award season unfolds, football fans around the world will eagerly await the announcement of the winner. With Lionel Messi, Haaland, Mbappe, and a host of other exceptional talents in the running, the competition promises to be fierce, and each nominee’s journey through the season will play a significant role in determining the ultimate victor.