|As the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo era comes to an end, how far can Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland go? (Photo credit: GOAL)|
In what can be described as the end of a long era dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the 2023 FIFA Best Nominated List sees Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe headline the shortlist.
Lionel Messi’s World Cup feat earned him a spot on the list, and many wouldn’t bat an eyelid if the former Barcelona man landed the award for a record third time, having won it in 2019 as well as the last in 2022.
Messi, who now plies his trade in the United States MLS with Inter Miami, might be the favorite for the award, but he will have the quartet of Mbappe, Haaland, Victor Osimhen, and his fellow countryman Julian Alvarez to contend with.
Osimhen helped SS Napoli to their first league title in 30 years, as well as winning the Golden Boot at the end of the campaign. The Nigerian has brought glory to Naples, and while he’s not odds on to win this particular one, his stocks have risen beyond his personal comprehension.
Alvarez was part of the treble-winning Manchester City side and continues to impress Pep Guardiola, and in that regard, he has gotten more playing time this season with Kevin De Bruyne injured; Mbappe needs no introduction, as does the goal-scoring machine Erling Haaland.
Ilkay Gundogan’s name on the shortlist won’t surprise anyone, but Arsenal’s Declan Rice making the list would shock even the England midfielder. Rice led West Ham to the European Conference League title before his mega-money move to the Emirates.
In the female category, Spain dominates the shortlist, as expected, having won the World Cup last month. The quartet of Jenni Hermoso, Aitana Bonmati, Mapi Leon, and Salma Paralluelo are all gunning to be the successors to Alex Putellas, who didn’t feature much at the 2023 Women's World Cup due to injuries.