Messi, Lewandowski, Salah Nominated for 2021 FIFA Men's Player of Year Award

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2022

PSG's Lionel Messi warms up before the French League One soccer match between FC Lorient and Paris Saint-Germain at the Moustoir stadium in Lorient, western France, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)
AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez

Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah were named as the finalists for The Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year award for 2021 on Friday.

FIFA World Cup @FIFAWorldCup

πŸš¨πŸ† The final three in the running to be <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheBest?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheBest</a> FIFA Men's Player 2021!<br><br>πŸŒπŸ‘‘ Who should be crowned <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheBest?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheBest</a> in the world? <br><br>πŸ‡΅πŸ‡± <a href="https://twitter.com/lewy_official?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@lewy_official</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/pzpn_pl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@pzpn_pl</a> <br>πŸ‡¦πŸ‡· Lionel Messi | <a href="https://twitter.com/Argentina?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Argentina</a> <br>πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬ <a href="https://twitter.com/MoSalah?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MoSalah</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/EFA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EFA</a> <a href="https://t.co/1kVGi5nRZ9">pic.twitter.com/1kVGi5nRZ9</a>

Messi is considered the favorite after taking home his seventh Ballon d'Or in November. 

Alexia Putellas, Jenni Hermoso and Sam Kerr are the nominees for the women's award. Putellas is the favorite after bringing home the Ballon d'Or Feminin.

Messi won this iteration of the award in 2019. He also won the Ballon d'Or four times when it was co-awarded by FIFA and France Football, along with winning FIFA World Player of the Year (the original yearly FIFA award) in 2009.

The 2021 calendar year was filled with change for Messi, who left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain after La Liga's financial regulations prevented Barcelona from signing him to a new contract. He totaled 43 goals at the club and international level with Barcelona, PSG and the Argentina national team, and he won the Copa America in Julyβ€”his first major international trophy.

Lewandowski is the defending winner of the award, his first career FIFA honor. The Bayern Munich star finished second behind Messi in Ballon d'Or voting after setting a Bundesliga record with 43 goals in the 2021 calendar year. 

Salah is nominated for Player of the Year for a second time, with the first coming in 2018. The Liverpool forward moved into first place on the club's scoring list in Champions League play and became the highest-scoring African player in Premier League history over the course of the year. 

This is the first year since 2010 that Cristiano Ronaldo has not been a finalist for FIFA's top men's honor.