Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong have been nominated for FIFA’s “The Best” Award for the best male player in the world. The award has been given three times, and Messi has not won it yet, though he has placed second twice. It’s De Jong’s first nomination.
Messi earned it after winning the top scorer awards for La Liga, the European Golden Shoe, and the UEFA Champions League last season with Barcelona, as well as a podium finish at Copa América. De Jong is nominated for his performances with AFC Ajax last season, where they made an improbable run deep into the UEFA Champions League, as well as his work in the Netherlands’ second-place UEFA Nations League finish.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax last season, Juventus now), Eden Hazard (Chelsea last season, now Real Madrid), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), and Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) have also been nominated.
The award’s roots trace to the FIFA Ballon d’Or award. At first, the Ballon d’Or was given by France Football magazine. This changed for a few years when FIFA officially co-sponsored it. However, the partnership broke up, and now we have FF giving out the Ballon d’Or and FIFA giving out the “The Best” prize.