England-based stars Mohamed Salah and Sam Kerr have been shortlisted for The Best FIFA Men’s and Women’s Player awards respectively.
Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Salah is currently with his national team preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations but has been nominated after a blistering start to the season at club level.
He is the Premier League’s top goalscorer so far this season, with 16 to his name, and is arguably in the best form of his life.
Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski and Paris St Germain’s Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi are the other two names on the shortlist, which was announced by FIFA on Friday afternoon.
The men’s and women’s awards are voted for by a jury made up of current national team coaches and captains, one specialist journalist from each territory represented by a national team and fans registered on FIFA.com.
Lewandowski enjoyed another spectacular year at club level for Bayern, scoring a Bundesliga-record 41 goals in the 2020-21 season to eclipse the previous best total set by Gerd Muller in the 1971-72 campaign.
Messi finally ended his wait for major international silverware in 2021 as he helped Argentina to win the Copa America. It was an emotional year for Messi, who left Barcelona for PSG last summer after more than 20 years at the Spanish club.
Chelsea Women forward Kerr made the women’s player of the year shortlist.
The Australian helped the Blues retain the Women’s Super League title in 2021 and reach the Champions League final.
She also scored twice in the 3-0 win over Arsenal in the Women’s FA Cup final last month.
Barcelona and Spain team-mates Jennifer Hermoso and Alexia Putellas were the other names on the women’s shortlist.
The award winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on January 17.
Nominees in other award categories were announced earlier in the week. Kerr’s boss at club level, Emma Hayes, was shortlisted for the best women’s coach award alongside new England Women boss Sarina Wiegman.
Chelsea men’s team head coach Thomas Tuchel was nominated for the men’s coach prize after leading them to the Champions League title last year. His Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola was also on the shortlist.