Mbappe, Modric challenge Messi’s, Ronaldo’s hold on FIFA’s Best awards

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World Cup finalists, Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric have been nominated to challenge Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s stranglehold on the World Footballer of the Year title as announced by FIFA yesterday. They are among 10 candidates shortlisted for the title currently held by Ronaldo.

Voting for the nominees, including the Goal of the Year, which features Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa, opened yesterday.

France won the World Cup, beating Modric’s Croatia to the title on July 15 and as reward, Les Blues also have Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane in the list. Brazil’s Neymar, who was a huge disappointment at the World Cup, is not on the list.

In a FIFA 13-man panel chose the nominees.

Belgium and England, who reached the World Cup semifinals, have Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Harry Kane respectively, while Liverpool’s record goal scorer last year, Mohamed Salah complete the list.

The winners will emerge at the FIFA Best gala night in London on September 24, but three finalists in each of the categories would be announced days before the ceremony.

The choice of winners will be made by a select group of journalists from FIFA’s 211 member countries, including The Guardian’s Christian Okpara, as well as national coaches and captains, and fans voting online.

In a mail signed for FIFA’s Deputy Secretary General, Zvonimir Boban and sent to The Guardian, FIFA said the third edition of “The Best FIFA Football Awards” will recognise football’s top performers of 2018, adding that it would not only be the game’s highest honour for coaches and footballers, but also a celebration in which football fans will play a vital and active part. The awards show will be organised and presented by FIFA.

“A total of nine trophies will be presented at the third The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony, including the Best FIFA Men’s Player 2018, the Best FIFA Women’s Player 2018, the Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2018, the Best FIFA Women’s Coach 2018 and the Best FIFA Goalkeeper 2018.

“Others are the FIFA Puskás Award 2018 in Which Ahmed Musa is in contention, the FIFA Fair Play Award 2018, the FIFA Fan Award 2018 and the FIFA FIFPro World11.

“Each of the four groups of voters within a jury has the same electoral weight, irrespective of the actual number of voters in such groups (i.e. the votes of the coaches, of the captains, of the specialist journalists and of the fans shall each make up 25 per cent of the total, notwithstanding the number of voters in each group). The results of the individual votes of the jury members shall be published on FIFA.com.

“For the avoidance of doubt, captains of national teams can vote for coaches from the national team they represent; captains and coaches of national teams can vote for players from the national team they represent; nominated captains and coaches are not permitted to vote for themselves; specialist journalists can vote for players and coaches who are from their own country or who represent clubs affiliated to their own country; fans registered on FIFA.com can vote for men’s and women’s football players and coaches provided that any such vote is cast fairly and in accordance with the rules of allocation.”

In the letter to The Guardian, FIFA said, “As a selected sport journalist for men’s and women’s football, we would ask you to select the three men’s and three women’s players as well as three men’s and three women’s football coaches whom you believe deserve to be nominated for each award.”