FIFA The Best: Messi, Salah, Putellas nominated

Lionel Messi will be hoping to add to his seventh Ballon d’Or as he was nominated for FIFA The Best Men’s player of the Year award for 2021, while Alexia Putellas is the favourite for the women’s award.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward is up against last year’s winner Robert Lewandowski and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

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Messi helped Argentina win the Copa America, their first major trophy since 1993, while Lewandowski won the European Golden Shoe with his 41 goals setting a new Bundesliga record. Salah enjoyed an exceptional 2021 and is the leading goal scorer in the Premier League with 16.

Putellas’ rivals for the women’s award are Barcelona and Spain teammate Jenni Hermoso as well as Chelsea and Australia forward Sam Kerr.

Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola, Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel and Italy’s Roberto Mancini were the nominees for the Men’s Coach of the Year, while Barca’s Lluis Cortes, Chelsea’s Emma Hayes and Netherlands’ Sarina Wiegman are in contention for the Best Women’s Coach.

Barca midfielder Putellas, winner of the third Ballon d’Or femenin in 2021, helped Barca win the Primera Divison, Copa de la Reina and Champions League treble.

FIFA The Best award was first handed out in its present guise to Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016. Previously, the FIFA World Player of the Year award ran parallel to France Football’s Ballon d’Or from 1991 to 2009.

However, from 2010 to 2015, the two awards merged to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or.

Ronaldo is the only player to win the award twice when he retained it in 2017, though both Messi and Lewandowski could equal his tally.

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