Messi and Mbappe go head-to-head as FIFA announce 'The Best' nominees
Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe are among the leading candidates for The Best FIFA Men's Player award after unsurprisingly being named on the 14-strong list of nominees on Thursday.
FIFA's awards ceremony will take place on February 27 and recognise the sport's high achievers from 2022 across several categories, with The Best FIFA Men's Player prize being the headline attraction.
Messi, who won the 2019 award and came a close second to Robert Lewandowski for 2021, will be the firm favourite after inspiring Argentina to World Cup success.
It was the Albiceleste's first such title since 1986, and Messi played a crucial role in the triumph as Argentina beat France on penalties after a 3-3 draw last month.
Messi scored five goals and set up another three to win himself the Golden Ball, and he nearly took home the Golden Boot as well.
Of course, his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe won the latter prize thanks to his hat-trick against Argentina in the dramatic final, and he will likely be Messi's closest rival.
Had it not been a World Cup year, Manchester City's Erling Haaland might have fancied his chances of staking a claim after a sensational start to life in the Premier League.
Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema is among the nominees and may be expecting a top-three finish after carrying Real Madrid to another Champions League crown, though his lack of World Cup involvement could prove detrimental.
Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is in the running for The Best FIFA Men's Coach gong, though Argentina's Lionel Scaloni will likely be the favourite of the five-man shortlist.
Argentina are also represented in The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper category by Emiliano Martinez among the five nominees.
For the women's prizes, Euro 2022 champions England have several nominations.
Beth Mead, Keira Walsh and Leah Williamson are all up for the players' award; Sarina Wiegman will be the favourite for the coaches' accolade; and Mary Earps is in contention to be named The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper.
The voting process will involve international captains and coaches, journalists, and fans selecting their winners in the various categories.
Voting closes on February 3 and FIFA will announce three finalists from each section thereafter.
The Best FIFA Men's Player
Julian Alvarez (Argentina/River Plate/Manchester City)
Jude Bellingham (England/Borussia Dortmund)
Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid)
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City)
Erling Haaland (Norway/ Borussia Dortmund/Manchester City)
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco/Paris Saint-Germain)
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich/Barcelona)
Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool/Bayern Munich)
Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain)
Lionel Messi (Argentina/Paris Saint-Germain)
Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)
Neymar (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)
Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool)
Vinicius Junior (Brazil/Real Madrid)
The Best FIFA Men's Coach
Carlo Ancelotti (Italy/Real Madrid)
Didier Deschamps (France/French National Team)
Pep Guardiola (Spain/Manchester City)
Walid Regragui (Morocco/Wydad AC/Moroccan National Team)
Lionel Scaloni (Argentina/Argentinian National Team)
The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper
Alisson Becker (Brazil/Liverpool)
Yassine Bounou (Morocco/Sevilla)
Thibaut Courtois (Belgium/Real Madrid)
Ederson (Brazil/Manchester City)
Emiliano Martinez (Argentina/Aston Villa)
The Best FIFA Women's Player:
Aitana Bonmatí (Spain/Barcelona)
Debinha (Brazil/North Carolina Courage)
Jessie Fleming (Canada/Chelsea)
Ada Hegerberg (Norway/Lyon)
Sam Kerr (Australia/Chelsea)
Beth Mead (England/Arsenal)
Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands/Arsenal)
Alex Morgan (United States/Orlando Pride/San Diego Wave)
Lena Oberdorf (Germany/Wolfsburg)
Alexandra Popp (Germany/Wolfsburg)
Alexia Putellas (Spain/Barcelona)
Wendie Renard (France/Lyon)
Keira Walsh (England/Manchester City/Barcelona)
Leah Williamson (England/Arsenal)
The Best FIFA Women's Coach
Sonia Bompastor (France/Lyon)
Emma Hayes (England/Chelsea)
Bev Priestman (England/Canadian National Team)
Pia Sundhage (Sweden/Brazilian National Team)
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg (Germany/German National Team)
Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands / English National Team)
The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper
Ann-Katrin Berger (Germany/Chelsea Women)
Mary Earps (England/Manchester United)
Christiane Endler (Chile/Lyon)
Merle Frohms (Germany/Eintracht Frankfurt /Wolfsburg)
Alyssa Naeher (United States/Chicago Red Stars)
Sandra Panos Garca-Villamil (Spain/Barcelona)