The 11-man shortlist for the FIFA Best Men’s player of the year award has been released, and the usual suspects are the headliners.
The rest of the 11-man shortlist sees N’Golo Kante, Erling Haaland, Jorginho and Karim Benzema replace Sadio Mane, Sergio Ramos, Virgil Van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara from last year’s nominees’ list.
Robert Lewandowski beat eight of the current nominees to the award last year won the award last year, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi coming second and third in the polls. He returns alongside Messi and Ronaldo to battle for the title of The Best men’s player of 2021 after a blistering year with the German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
However, the most notable absence from the 2021 nominees list is Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United and Portugal, whose brilliant season individually saw him earn a Ballon D’Or nomination slot for 2021.
Bruno Fernandes was key to Manchester United’s second-place finish in the Premier League last season, and also the major driving force behind their charge to the Europa League title, which United, unfortunately, lost out on after an intense penalty shootout.
Bruno Fernandes the shining light in a dull Manchester United side.
The Portuguese midfielder has started the 2021/22 season on a good note as well for both Manchester United and Portugal, picking off from where he left off last season.
He ended the 2020/21 Premier League season in the top three for goals, assists, and chances created. He was also United’s main attacking threat in the Europ League, scoring five goals and providing four assists as they reached the final of the competition.
This season, he has picked up where he left off leads the chance creation stats at Manchester United and is currently the biggest attacking threat in the Champions League.
He also played a key role in Portugal’s run-up to the qualifier playoffs for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar by creating the most chances for Portugal.
However, he can take solace in his nomination for the 2021 Ballon D’Or as an acknowledgement of his strong season.
“Of course, as a kid, you dream to be in the middle of the best,” Fernandes told Manchester United’s official website (via Eurosport)
“For me, being nominated for the Ballon d’Or, even if I know I will not win it, makes me feel proud, and for everyone who has been on this long journey [with me]. I’m just really happy for that.”
Other nominees for The Best FIFA awards
Jurgen Klopp misses out on this year’s nominees for The Best men’s coach, but the award will be going to either one of Pep Guardiola (Manchester City), Hansi Flick (Bayern Munich/Germany), Lionel Scaloni (Argentina), Antonio Conte (Inter Milan/Tottenham), Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea), Roberto Mancini (Italy) or Diego Simeone (Atletico De Madrid).
Alisson Becker will battle it out with Gianluigi Donnarumma, Edouard Mendy, Manuel Neuer and Kasper Schmeichel for The Best Men’s Goalkeeper.
A public vote will run until 11:59 PM CET on December 10, after which three finalists in each category will be announced ahead of the ceremony on January 17.