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Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé Headline FIFA The Best Nominees; Cristiano Ronaldo Absent

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 12, 2023

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 11: Lionel Messi #30 of Paris Saint-Germain controls the ball during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Angers SCO at Parc des Princes on January 11, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)
Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina star Lionel Messi headlines the list of nominees for The Best FIFA Men's Player of 2022, while Barcelona and Spain's Alexia Putellas looks to win The Best FIFA Women's Player honors for a second straight year:

B/R Football @brfootball

Nominees for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheBest?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheBest</a> FIFA Men's player are here 🤩 <a href="https://t.co/TY3IenOky8">pic.twitter.com/TY3IenOky8</a>

B/R Football @brfootball

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheBest?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheBest</a> FIFA Women's player nominees 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/3U6JfWBCNY">pic.twitter.com/3U6JfWBCNY</a>

Cristiano Ronaldo is notably absent after being nominated every year since the award's formation in 2016. The Portuguese forward has won the award twice and was a finalist five times in six years.

He was one of 11 nominees for the 2021 award, splitting time between Juventus and Manchester United, and made the FIFA FIFPRO Men's World 11.

Ronaldo hasn't justified consideration for the 2022 list given his struggles this season. The 37-year-old had just one goal and no assists in 10 Premier League appearances with Manchester United before the team terminated his contract in November. He signed with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr two weeks ago, but he is yet to make his debut.

Among the numerous quality candidates for the award, Messi is arguably the favorite after leading Argentina to a World Cup title last month with seven goals and three assists in seven matches.

The 35-year-old also has eight goals with 10 assists in 14 Ligue 1 matches for PSG, putting him in contention to win the award for the second time.

A big performance at the World Cup also helped compatriot Julián Álvarez earn a nomination despite a limited role with Manchester City at the club level.

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni is a nominee for the Coach of the Year award, while Emiliano Martínez is a candidate to win best goalkeeper.

Messi's Paris Saint-Germain teammates are also well represented as Kylian Mbappé, Neymar and Achraf Hakimi all earned nominations. Mbappé won the Golden Boot at the World Cup with eight goals in seven matches for France, including a hat trick in the final against Argentina.

The 24-year-old also has 20 goals in 22 matches across all competitions for PSG this season.

Real Madrid has three nominees after winning the 2022 Champions League title, including reigning Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema, even though he missed the World Cup for France because of an injury.

On the women's side, Putellas will look to win a second straight trophy after also earning the Ballon d'Or Féminin in 2021 and 2022.

Ada Hegerberg and Wendie Renard are nominees after helping Lyon win the 2022 Champions League title, while Chelsea's Sam Kerr is another top option with her sustained success in the Women's Super League.

Alex Morgan is the only United States international on the list, while USWNT teammate Alyssa Naeher is a nominee for the best women's goalkeeper.