The Liverpool quartet of Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara joined Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among the 11 nominees for men's player of the year at the Best FIFA Football Awards, whose shortlists this year have a sizeable contingent from the English game.
Mane, Van Dijk, Salah and Alcantara were joined on the list of contenders by Manchester City rival Kevin De Bruyne as they vie for a prize that has previously gone to players from Real Madrid and Barcelona in its short history. The award, introduced in 2016 after FIFA broke away from France Football and its prestigious Ballon d'Or prize, has been won twice by Cristiano Ronaldo with Luka Modric and Lionel Messi its past two recipients.
Messi and Ronaldo are on the shortlist once more whilst Real Madrid's sole representative is defender Sergio Ramos. The early favorite to win the award is Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored 40 club goals in 2020 and was a key figure in his side's Champions League victory.
The women's award has been won by US internationals in two of its four years, Carli Lloyd in 2016 and Megan Rapinoe in 2019. She will not have a chance to retain her prize for the 2020 calendar year with no American representatives on a shortlist that includes four representatives from French giants Lyon and three from Women's Super League winners Chelsea.
Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes is one of seven nominees for the women's coaching prize along with Dutch boss Sarina Wiegman, the only representative of a national team on either shortlist, representative of a year when COVID-19 has severely curtailed the number of international fixtures that could be played.
The men's shortlist is made up of five, including Champions League and Bundesliga champion Hansi Flick, Premier League winner Jurgen Klopp and Julen Lopetegui, who led Sevilla to their record sixth Europa League. Perhaps the most notable name across the entire shortlist is Marcelo Bielsa, who has managed just nine top level league matches so far in the calendar year.
The 65-year-old did, however, take Leeds United to promotion from the Championship with a league-leading 93 points, ending their 16 year exile from the top tier of English football.
The awards will be decided through "a combined voting process involving the captains and head coaches of all national teams around the globe, an online ballot of fans and submissions from a select group of more than 200 media representatives". The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on December 17.
Awards shortlist in full
The Best FIFA Men's Player: Thiago Alcantara (Spain/Bayern Munich and Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Juventus), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich), Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool), Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris St Germain), Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona), Neymar (Brazil/Paris St Germain), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid), Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands/Liverpool)
The Best FIFA Women's Player: Lucy Bronze (England/Olympique Lyonnais and Manchester City), Delphine Cascarino (France/Olympique Lyonnais), Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway/Barcelona), Pernille Harder (Denmark/VfL Wolfsburg and Chelsea), Jennifer Hermoso (Spain/Barcelona), Ji So-yun (South Korea/Chelsea), Sam Kerr (Australia/Chelsea), Saki Kumagai (Japan/Olympique Lyonnais), Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany/Olympique Lyonnais), Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands/Arsenal), Wendie Renard (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
The Best FIFA Men's Coach: Marcelo Bielsa (Argentina/Leeds United), Hans-Dieter Flick (Germany/Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klopp (Germany/Liverpool), Julen Lopetegui (Spain/Sevilla), Zinedine Zidane (France/Real Madrid)
The Best FIFA Women's Coach: Lluis Cortes (Spain/Barcelona), Rita Guarino (Italy/Juventus), Emma Hayes (England/Chelsea), Stephan Lerch (Germany/Wolfsburg), Hege Riise (Norway/ LSK Kvinner), Jean-Luc Vasseur (France/Lyon), Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands/Netherlands national team)