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FIFA Best Awards: Ronaldo out as Messi, Mbappe, others shortlisted

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Following their World Cup victory, Argentina were prominently represented on the shortlists for FIFA’s Best awards, with forwards Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, and coach Lionel Scaloni all garnering nominations in different categories.

The 14 players shortlisted for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award include Messi, French striker Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain, and Norwich Erling Haaland of Manchester City, the world governing body said on Thursday.

The trio is joined by the champion from the previous year, Robert Lewandowski of Barcelona, playmaker Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City, Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, and both Neymar and Achraf Hakimi of Paris Saint-Germain.

The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner from Real Madrid, Karim Benzema, is also included on the shortlist.

However, Cristiano Ronaldo was left off the list of nominees for the first time.

Ronaldo, who was released by Manchester United and benched by Portugal during the World Cup before signing for Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, won the FIFA award the first two times it was handed out — in 2016 and 2017 — and was among the three finalists the following three years. This was the first time he was not even selected as a contender by a FIFA-appointed expert panel.

Barca and Arsenal dominate the women’s award with three players each, including Alexia Putellas, Keira Walsh, and Aitana Bonmati for the Spanish champions. The English side are represented by Leah Williamson, Vivianne Miedema, and Beth Mead.

Chelsea duo Sam Kerr and Jessie Fleming and Olympique Lyonnais’ Ada Hegerberg and Wendie Renard also make the cut.

Sarina Wiegman, who led England to Euros success last year, is joined on The Best FIFA Women’s Coach shortlist by Chelsea’s Emma Hayes and Germany manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola are nominated for the men’s award, along with Argentina’s Scaloni, France boss Didier Deschamps and Morocco manager Walid Regragui.

Liverpool’s Alisson, Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois, and Aston Villa’s Martinez are among the nominees for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper award.

FIFA said it will announce the three finalists in each category in early February.

FIFA also announced an 11-player shortlist for this year’s Puskas Award for the “most beautiful” goal of the year, with Mbappe’s spectacular volley against Argentina in the World Cup final among the nominees.

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