Argentine football star, Lionel Messi, Napoli and Nigeria’s forward, Victor Osimhen, Arsenal star, Bukayo Saka and Manchester City, Erling Haaland, all make the 2023 Ballon d’Or nominee list.
Ballon d’Or is an annual football award presented to players by French news magazine France Football since 1956.
Messi’s nomination comes a year after he was omitted from the shortlist. Should he win the men’s category Ballon d’Or this year, it would mark his eighth time winning the award – the second most was Cristiano Ronaldo with five. In February, Messi also won the Best FIFA Men’s Player award for a second time.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony slated for the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30.
Messi led Argentina to win the 2022 World Cup in December – the only major trophy that had eluded him in his 21-year career – finally claiming the trophy at his fifth attempt.
At club level, Messi had a mixed year. He struggled at Paris Saint-Germain as the French side were dumped out of the Champions League at the round-of-16 stage for a second consecutive season, although he did help the side lift an 11th Ligue 1 title.
Napoli sensational striker, Osimhen becomes the first Nigerian to be nominated for the prestigious prize since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.
The Napoli star scored 26 Serie A goals last season to guide the Partenopei to the Scudetto for the first time in more than three decades.
Meanwhile, Erling Haaland was also nominated and could provide Messi’s strongest competition for the award.
The Norwegian striker scored 52 goals in 53 games in all competitions as Manchester City clinched the Premier League, FA Cup, and the Champions League titles.
The 23-year-old broke the Premier League’s single-season scoring record with 36 goals in his debut campaign in England.
The striker also won a number of individual awards for his stunning performances, including PFA Player of the Year, Premier League’s Player of the Season and Football Writers’ Association’s Men’s Player of the Year.
Unsurprisingly, players from Manchester City and Argentina dominate this year’s list of nominees. Seven players who helped City win the treble last season, including Haaland, made the shortlist, while there are four Argentine players, including Messi, who were part of their country’s third World Cup triumph.
Below is the full list of men’s Ballon d’Or nominees:
André Onana – Manchester United/Cameroon
Josko Gvardiol – Manchester City/Croatia
Karim Benzema – Al Ittihad
Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich/Germany
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool/Egypt
Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid/England
Bukayo Saka – Arsenal/England
Randal Kolo Muani – Paris Saint-Germain/France
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City/Belgium
Bernardo Silva – Manchester City/Portugal
Emiliano Martínez – Aston Villa/Argentina
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – Napoli/Georgia
Rúben Dias – Manchester City/Portugal
Nicolo Barella – Inter Milan/Italy
Erling Haaland – Manchester City/Norway
Yassine Bounou – Al Hilal/Morocco
Martin Ødegaard – Arsenal/Norway
Julián Álvarez – Manchester City/Argentina
Ilkay Gündogan – Barcelona/Germany
Vinícius Júnior – Real Madrid/Brazil
Lionel Messi – Inter Miami/Argentina
Rodri – Manchester City/Spain
Lautaro Martínez – Inter Milan/Argentina
Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid/France
Robert Lewandowski – Barcelona/Poland
Kylian Mbappé – Paris Saint-Germain/France
Kim Min-jae – Napoli/South Korea
Victor Osimhen – Napoli/Nigeria
Luka Modric – Real Madrid/Croatia
Harry Kane – Bayern Munich/England