The Best FIFA Awards are coming up in early 2024 and the candidates are already out regarding the various categories as voting begins. As expected, Manchester City's treble feat across the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup has positioned the likes of Erling Haaland, Rodri and Pep Guardiola well. Spain's Women's World Cup winners and Barcelona's UEFA Women's Champions League titleholders gives Aitana Bonmati a strong chance of sweeping both the UEFA and FIFA awards which could also happen for City's Rodri. Women's World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda is missing in the women's coach category which is no surprise given the acrimonious situation regarding former Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales which has tarnished La Roja's success Down Under.
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Here's what to know:
- Men's player: Lionel Messi (PSG and Argentina)
- Women's player: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona and Spain)
- Men's coach: Lionel Scaloni (Argentina)
- Women's coach: Sarina Wiegman (England)
- Men's goalkeeper: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa and Argentina)
- Women's goalkeeper: Mary Earps (Manchester United and England)
Men's player: Julian Alvarez (City and Argentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter/Al Nassr and Croatia), Kevin De Bruyne (City and Belgium), Erling Haaland (City and Norway), Rodri (City and Spain), Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli and Georgia), Kylian Mbappe (PSG and France), Lionel Messi (PSG/Inter Miami and Argentina), Victor Osimhen (Napoli and Nigeria), Declan Rice (West Ham United/Arsenal and England) and Bernardo Silva (City and Portugal).
Haaland and Rodri are arguably the favorites with the Spaniard out to pair his UEFA award with the FIFA one while Inter Miami's Lionel Messi -- the defending men's player champion -- is also in the reckoning once more. Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez also feature in what is expected to be a dominant prize. Cristiano Ronaldo is a notable absentee after his move to Al Nassr earlier this year.
Women's player: Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona and Spain), Linda Caicedo (Deportivo Cali/Real Madrid and Colombia), Rachel Daly (Aston Villa and England), Kadidiatou Diani (PSG/Lyon and France), Caitlin Foord (Arsenal and Australia), Mary Fowler (City and Australia), Alex Greenwood (City and England), Jenni Hermoso (Pachuca and Spain), Lindsey Horan (Lyon and USWNT), Amanda Ilestedt (PSG/Arsenal and Sweden), Lauren James (Chelsea and England), Sam Kerr (Chelsea and Australia), Mapi Leon (Barcelona), Hinata Miyazawa (Mynavi Sendai/Manchester United and Japan), Salma Paralluelo (Barcelona and Spain) and Keira Walsh (Barcelona and England).
On the women's side, Aitana Bonmati is the strong favorite given her dual success with Barcelona and Spain which has already led to UEFA recognition. Defending champion Alexia Putellas does not feature so cannot defend her title as Messi might while Jenni Hermoso who found herself at the center of the unwanted kiss controversy concerning Rubiales also made the cut.
Men's coach: Pep Guardiola (City), Simone Inzaghi (Inter), Ange Postecoglou (Celtic/Tottenham Hotspur), Luciano Spalletti (Napoli/Italy) and Xavi (Barcelona).
It is no surprise to see Guardiola at the forefront of the men's coaching candidates given City's treble although Xavi and Ange Postecoglou are interesting nominees. Luciano Spalletti, who led Napoli to the Serie A title, has since replaced Roberto Mancini as Italy head coach.
Women's coach: Peter Gerhardsson (Sweden), Jonatan Giraldez (Barcelona), Tony Gustavsson (Australia), Emma Hayes (Chelsea) and Sarina Wiegman (England).
In the women's coaching stakes, Wiegman won the UEFA award and could well take this title as well although Jonatan Giraldez also has a decent shout given Barca's latest UWCL success. Otherwise, Chelsea's Emma Hayes, Sweden's Peter Gerhardsson and the Matildas' Tony Gustavsson are also in contention.
Men's goalkeeper: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla/Al Hilal and Morocco), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid and Belgium), Andre Onana (Inter/Manchester United and Cameroon) and Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona and Germany).
Defending champion Emiliano Martinez will not get a chance to defend his title in the goalkeeping category although Thibaut Courtois and Yassine Bounou have both made it back to this stage.
Women's goalkeeper: Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham United and Australia), Ann-Katrin Berger (Chelsea and Germany), Cata Coll (Barcelona and Spain), Mary Earps (Manchester United and England), Christiane Endler (Lyon and Chile), Zecira Musovic (Chelsea and Sweden) and Sandra Panos (Barcelona).
On the women's side, four names from last year's top five are back again with defending champion Mary Earps, Christiane Endler, Ann-Katrin Berger and Sandra Panos all returning.