This is the second time the award is being handed out since FIFA broke away from the Ballon d’Or to resume handing out their own prizes – and the result is likely to be the same as last January.
FIFA has finally announced the list of three-players shortlisted for The Best Men’s Player for 2017 – and the names on the list aren’t a surprise for anyone. Joining Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi this year is Messi’s former FC Barcelona teammate Neymar and together the three world-class footballers have been shortlisted for the Best FIFA Men’s Player Award. The announcement happened late evening in London on Friday.
The 25-year-old Brazilian superstar (Neymar) has already won the Copa del Rey with Barcelona last season. He also became the most expensive player of all time this past summer when he completed a €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Meanwhile, Portuguese and Real Madrid star Ronaldo, at 32, is the overwhelming favourite to win the award, having led Real Madrid to the La Liga title and a third Champions League success in four years in the last season. He has previously won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2008 and has also been awarded the Ballon d’Or four times.
Lionel Messi is a strong contender for the award as well. The FC Barcelona star midfielder scored 54 goals last season as Barcelona won the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup. The former Argentine captain has been performing exceedingly well even in the current season with 12 goals already under his belt in the first 8 appearances. He is also a record five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or.
The shortlist for the Best FIFA Women’s Player award comprises Venezeula’s Deyna Castellanos, Carli Lloyd of the United States and Dutch player Lieke Martens. Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane goes head to head with Chelsea’s Antonio Conte and Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri for the top coach award. Veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is shortlisted for the Best FIFA Goalkeeper prize alongside Keylor Navas of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.
The winner of the 2017 awards will be announced during a ceremony at the London Palladium on October 23. The voting for the award, equally weighted between national team captains, national team coaches, media and fans, closed earlier this month.