France Football has announced the nominees for its Ballon d'Or prizes with a trio of Americans in the running for the women's prize and Karim Benzema the hot favorite to take the prestigious men's trophy.
This year's Ballon d'Or will make history, being the first to be awarded for performances over the course of a season rather than a calendar year. As such it appears inevitable that Benzema, Madrid's standout performer on their run to European glory, will receive the men's prize.
For much of last season Sadio Mane had looked like being the most likely rival to Benzema's crown and the former Liverpool forward is one of a host of representatives from Anfield on the 30 strong list of nominees, including Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah. And while the two most likely winners might no longer ply their trade in England, the Premier League is extremely well represented with 15 representatives making up a full half of the total list. Whoever wins, 2022 marks the end of an era as Lionel Messi, who has won the award seven total times, including the last two, and three of the last six, is not nominated.
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In the Ballon d'Or Feminin the USA have the second-most representatives on the 20 strong shortlist with Catarina Macario, Alex Morgan and Trinity Rodman in the mix. Only France with four are more garlanded whilst European champions England by Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze and Beth Mead. Chelsea forward Sam Kerr and last year's winner Alexia Putellas are expected to be among the leading contenders for the award.
Meanwhile the Kopa Trophy, handed to the best player under the age of 21, could well end up in the Bundesliga with more than half the list of 10 nominees plying their trade in Germany. Bayern Munich (Ryan Gravenberch, Jamal Musiala) and Borussia Dortmund (Karim Adeyemi, Jude Bellingham) each have two names on the shortlist with Florian Wirtz and Josko Gvardiol representing Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig. Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka is the sole representative from the Premier League.
Bellingham, Gravenberch, Nuno Mendes, Musiala, Saka and Wirtz have all been nominated for the second time.
There is a more sizeable contingent from the English top flight in the contenders for the Yacine Trophy. Among those in the running for the prize are Edouard Mendy, Hugo Lloris, Ederson and Alisson. However all four are dark horses for a trophy that may as well already have Thibaut Courtois' name on it following his heroics in the Champions League final for Real Madrid.
The winners will be announced on October 17.
Nominees in full
Ballon d'Or: Trent Alexander-Arnold (ENG, Liverpool): Karim Benzema (FRA, Real Madrid); Joao Cancelo (POR, Manchester City); Casemiro (BRA, Real Madrid); Thibaut Courtois (BEL, Real Madrid); Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Manchester United); Kevin de Bruyne (BEL, Manchester City); Luis Diaz (COL, FC Porto/Liverpool); Fabinho (BRA, Liverpool); Phil Foden (ENG, Manchester City); Erling Haaland (NOR, Borussia Dortmund/Manchester City); Sebastien Haller (CIV, Ajax/Borussia Dortmund); Harry Kane (ENG, Tottenham); Joshua Kimmich (GER, Bayern Munich); Rafael Leao (POR, AC Milan); Robert Lewandowski (POL, Bayern Munich/FC Barcelona); Riyad Mahrez (ALG, Manchester City); Mike Maignan (FRA, AC Milan); Sadio Mane (SEN, Liverpool/Bayern Munich); Kylian Mbappe (FRA, PSG); Luka Modric (CRO, Real Madrid); Christopher Nkunku (FRA, RB Leipzig); Darwin Nunez (URU, Benfica/Liverpool); Antonio Rudiger (GER, Chelsea/Real Madrid); Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool); Bernardo Silva (POR, Manchester City); Heung-Min Son (KOR, Tottenham); Virgil Van Dijk (NED, Liverpool); Vinicius Junior (BRA, Real Madrid); Dusan Vlahovic (SER, Fiorentina/Juventus)
Ballon d'Or Feminin: Selma Bach (France, Lyon); Aitana Bonmati (Spain, Barcelona); Millie Bright (England, Chelsea); Lucy Bronze (England, Manchester City/Barcelona); Kadidiatou Diani (France, PSG); Christiane Endler (Chile, Lyon); Ada Hegerberg (Norway, Lyon); Marie-Antoinette Katoto (France, PSG); Sam Kerr (Australia, Chelsea); Catarina Macario (USA, Lyon); Beth Mead (England, Arsenal); Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands, Arsenal); Alex Morgan (USA, Orlando Pride/San Diego Wave); Lena Oberdorf (Germany, Wolfsburg); Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria, Barcelona); Alexandra Popp (Germany, Wolfsburg); Alexia Putellas (Spain, Barcelona); Wendie Renard (France, Lyon); Trinity Rodman (USA, Washington Spirit); Fridolina Rolfo (Sweden, Barcelona).
Kopa Trophy: Karim Adeyemi (Germany, Red Bull Salzburg/Borussia Dortmund); Jude Bellingham (England, Borussia Dortmund); Eduardo Camavinga (France, Real Madrid); Gavi (Spain, Barcelona); Ryan Gravenberch (Netherlands, Ajax/Bayern Munich); Nuno Mendes (Portugal, PSG); Jamal Musiala (Germany, Bayern Munich), Josko Gvardiol (Croatia, RB Leipzig); Bukayo Saka (England, Arsenal); Florian Wirtz (Germany, Bayer Leverkusen).
Yashin Trophy: Alisson (Brazil, Liverpool); Yassine Bounou (Morocco, Sevilla); Thibaut Courtois (Belgium, Real Madrid); Ederson (Brazil, Manchester City); Hugo Lloris (France, Tottenham); Mike Maignan (France, AC Milan); Edouard Mendy (Senegal, Chelsea); Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich); Jan Oblak (Slovenia, Atletico Madrid); Kevin Trapp (Germany, Eintracht Frankfurt).