Messi, Haaland and Bonmati lead Ballon d'Or nominees

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland.

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland are among the leading contenders to win this year's men's Ballon d'Or, while Spain World Cup star Aitana Bonmati leads the nominees announced for the women's prize.

Messi, who recently left Paris Saint-Germain for Inter Miami, is in with a chance of succeeding Frances Karim Benzema and winning the Ballon d'Or for the eighth time in his remarkable career after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar last year.

Haaland may be his main rival for the prize after scoring 52 goals in 53 games to help Manchester City win the treble of the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup last season.

The Norway striker last week won the UEFA Player of the Year award for last season.

PSG's Kylian Mbappe and Haaland's City teammate Kevin De Bruyne also feature among the 30 nominees for the prize, the winner of which will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on October 30.

Benzema, who ended a 14-year spell at Real Madrid in June when he moved to Saudi club Al Ittihad, is also nominated.

Also among the nominees are Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva and Rodri, Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez and Nicolo Barella, and Al Hilal’s Yassine Bounou.

Messi, regarded by many as the best player in the history of the game, has over 40 trophies over the course of his career.

Haaland, with a bright future ahead of him, is already setting himself to be among the best, having already broken multiple records during his first season with Manchester City.

Women’s nominees

Bonmati, winner of the UEFA women's player award, appears the favourite to claim the Ballon d'Or after being the outstanding player as Spain lifted the World Cup in Sydney last month.

She also starred as Barcelona won the Champions League and will hope to succeed her club and international colleague Alexia Putellas, winner in the last two years.

Putellas is not nominated this time having hardly played for Barcelona last season after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament in July 2022, which kept her out for nine months.

Bonmati is one of four members of Spain's World Cup-winning team nominated, along with Olga Carmona, Salma Paralluelo and Alba Redondo.

Their compatriots Patricia Guijarro and Mapi Leon are also named.

Both of Barcelona, they did not go to the World Cup after being among a group of 15 players who said last year they no longer wanted to play for Spain in a protest against the Spanish federation and coach Jorge Vilda.

Others included in the 30 nominees are Chelsea and Australia striker Sam Kerr and England goalkeeper Mary Earps.


Source: TRT