Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland head the shortlist for the men’s 2023 Ballon d’Or, with Spain’s Aitana Bonmati leading the women’s nominations.

Messi, 36, has claimed a record seven Ballon d’Or trophies in his illustrious career and is favourite to win another after helping Argentina win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Erling Haaland will be among his biggest challengers after scoring 52 goals for Manchester City in his debut season, helping Pep Guardiola’s side win a historic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

Five other Manchester City players also make the shortlist, while Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe could challenge Haaland and Messi for the award.

Mbappe scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final and, despite ending up on the losing side, dragged France to within an inch of defending their title.

Karim Benzema, who won the prize in 2022, also makes the shortlist, but there is no space for Cristiano Ronaldo, who endured an indifferent spell with Manchester United before moving to Saudi side Al-Nassr in January.

England trio Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka are also on the shortlist.

Spain’s Aitana Bonmati is nominated for the Ballon d’Or Feminin after leading Spain to World Cup glory in August and winning the Golden Ball in the process.

Bonmati looks the favourite for the prize, but goes up against England’s Milie Bright, Georgia Stanway, Rachel Daly and Mary Earps.

England finished runners-up to Spain at the World Cup.

Sam Kerr, who took third place in 2021 and 2022, missed out on a nomination despite her 29 goals helping Chelsea to a domestic double in 2023. Alexia Putellas, winner in 2021 and 2022, also misses out after spending most of the year on the sidelines with injury.

Bonmati could, however, make it three winners for Spain in as many years should she win the gong.

Real Madrid’s Bellingham is favourite for the Kopa trophy, given to the world’s best under-21 player, with Manchester United summer signing Rasmus Hojlund the only Premier League player on the list.

Premier League stars Ederson, Aaron Ramsdale, Andre Onana and Emiliano Martinez are nominated for the Yashin Trophy, awarded to the best goalkeeper of the year.

September 7, 2023

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