File image of Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi together.© AFP
World Cup winner Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema were announced on Friday as the three finalists for FIFA’s The Best award for last year. Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas of Spain, England forward Beth Mead and US star Alex Morgan were nominated for the top women’s prize. Paris Saint-Germain team-mates Messi and Mbappe, who faced each other in last year’s World Cup final, are competing along with Benzema to succeed Robert Lewandowski, winner of the FIFA award in 2020 and 2021.
Benzema won last year’s Ballon d’Or for his performances with Real Madrid but missed the World Cup because of injury. Barcelona and Spain midfielder Putellas won the women’s award last time and is nominated again despite being out since July after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.
Arsenal striker Beth Mead, runner-up to Putellas for the Ballon d’Or in October, is also currently sidelined with a long-term knee injury.
The winners will be revealed on February 27 in Paris. They will be voted for by a jury made up of national team coaches and captains as well as journalists and fans. There are also prizes for the best male and female coach, the best goalkeeper, and the Puskas Award for the best goal of 2022.
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