2022 FIFA best player award: Messi, Mbappe, Benzema make final shortlist

Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi and France’s superstar forward Kylian Mbappe head the three-player shortlist for the FIFA Best Men’s Player award for 2022 announced by FIFA on Friday, eight weeks after leading their teams in an epic final in Qatar.

Karim Benzema completed the top three in the voting by a global panel of national team captains and coaches plus selected journalists in each of FIFA’s 211 member countries, as well as fans voting online.

In the Best Women’s Player award, Beth Mead of England, Alex Morgan of the United States and Spain’s Alexia Putellas were on the shortlist voted for by a separate global voting panel.

The winners will be announced at a February 27 ceremony in Paris.

Messi edged Mbappé for the Golden Ball awarded by FIFA as the best player at the World Cup. Croatia captain Luka Modrić placed third in that contest.

Another duel is expected for the Paris Saint-Germain teammates with Messi favoured to get a seventh win in FIFA’s annual individual prize. Mbappé seeks his first.

Messi won his six previous awards when it was called the FIFA World Player of the Year (2009), the FIFA Ballon d’Or each year from 2010-12 and again in 2015, then in the current title of Best FIFA Men’s Player for 2019.