The final three-man shortlist for The Best FIFA Football Awards has been released, with Cristiano Ronado, Lionel Messi, and Robert Lewandowski set to compete for the prize later in December.
The trio were on an initial list of 11 nominees, which included the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, and Kylian Mbappe.
The Best FIFA Women’s Player was also pruned down to the final three, with Lucy Bronze (England / Olympique Lyonnais), Pernille Harder (Denmark / Wolfsburg), and Wendie Renard (France / Olympique Lyonnais) shortlisted.
Sarah Bouhaddi (France / Olympique Lyonnais), Alyssa Naeher (USA / Chicago Red Stars), and Christiane Endler (Chile / Paris Saint-Germain) will battle it out for The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper, while Alisson Becker (Brazil / Liverpool), Manuel Neuer (Germany / Bayern Munich) are in the running for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper.
Emma Hayes (England / Chelsea FC Women), Jean-Luc Vasseur (France / Olympique Lyonnais), and Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands / Dutch national team) are the final nominees for The Best FIFA Women’s Coach.
The Best FIFA Men’s Coach will be contested by Jurgen Klopp (Germany / Liverpool), Marcelo Bielsa (Argentina / Leeds United), and Hansi-Diter Flick (Germany / Bayern Munich).
The final three nominees for the FIFA Puskas Award are Giorgian De Arrascaeta (URU) – Ceará SC v. CR Flamengo [Brasileirão – Brazil] (25 August 2019), Son Heung min (KOR) – Tottenham Hotspur v. Burnley FC [Premier League – England] (7 December 2019), and Luis Suárez (URU) – FC Barcelona v. Real Mallorca [LaLiga – Spain] (7 December 2019).
How are the winners of the awards decided?
Football fans are also eligible to cast their votes and voting would run until December 9 on the official FIFA website FIFA.com.
The final list of three nominees will then be released, ahead of the ceremony which will be held virtually owing to COVID-19 social distancing rules.
Who are the favorites for The Best FIFA Awards?
Denmark international and reigning UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Pernille Harder is the favorite, after her stunning performance for Wolfsburg last season., although Lucy Bronze and Wendy Renard would fancy their chances following their treble-winning campaign with Lyon.
Germany international and World Cup winner Manuel Neuer had a spectacular performance to inspire Bayern Munich to the treble last season and is the favorite to claim a maiden FIFA Best Men’s Goalkeeper award.
Sarah Bouhaddi was the custodian in goal as Olympique Lyon conquered all before them to win the treble and like Neuer, she is the favorite for the award.
Jurgen Klopp is the current holder of The Best Men’s Coach Award after guiding Liverpool to the Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup in 2019.
The German is also in the running this year, having masterminded the Reds’ first league title in three decades but Hans-Dieter Flick is the favorite after guiding Bayern Munich to a continental treble just nine months after his appointment.
Robert Lewandowski was the star of the show, weighing in with 55 goals from just 47 matches in all competitions to fire Bayern Munich to a second treble.
The Poland international is in pole position to claim the FIFA Best Men’s Player award and would have fancied his chances for the Ballon d’Or had it not been cancelled.
Speaking in an interview earlier, the former Dortmund man had stated that he believes he is the favorite for the award, saying:
”If you scored a lot of goals and won everything and were at the top, I don’t think there’s anyone I can compare myself to,”
“I just focus and think about the next challenge, and so on. If I win the award, of course I will be happy because I know everything I did, that it was for the team, and I know that it will be a decision of the fans and the journalists who vote.
“It would be a unique feeling. If I won The Best it would be something spectacular for me and an award for the whole team, because I know how well we played.
“What we did last season, for me, was incredible and I think we were the best. We are the best, there is no doubt. And we want to stay in that place.
“It’s always special to win a FIFA award, a dream. Personally, I know how hard I worked and pushed myself to have the year I had. If you love what you do, it is possible to get the prize.
“But I insist, winning it would be a prize for the whole team. Bayern had an unbeatable year.”
Robert Lewandowski has kept his fine form going in the current campaign and currently has 15 goals from 15 games in all competitions as Bayern Munich see to retain their titles on all fronts.
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