Sam Kerr has once again been recognised for her excellence, with a nomination as FIFA’s best women’s player of the year.
- Sam Kerr is nominated alongside, among others, Ballon D’Or winner Alexia Putellas
- Another Australian, Alou Kuol, is nominated for the Puskás Award for the year’s best goal
- Lionel Messi heads the men’s best player nominees, while long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo was not nominated
The Chelsea and Matildas striker heads a list of 14 star names with the sport’s governing body also revealing the Best FIFA Men’s Player shortlist, which has World Cup winner Lionel Messi as its outstanding favourite and Cristiano Ronaldo not included for the first time, after a torrid Premier League season with Manchester United ending in a transfer to Saudi club Al-Nassr.
Kerr has been recognised after another stellar season for club and country, winning the FA Cup and Women’s Super League double with Chelsea, while also taking the Golden Boot as the leading scorer in England for a second straight season.
The 2022 Players’ Player of the Year was also Australia’s top scorer in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, but she has formidable opposition in the quest for the big prize after finishing second in the same awards last year behind Spain’s Alexia Putellas.
Barcelona star Putellas is again on the list despite missing much of last year with injury.
She is alongside three of the England team who triumphed at the Euros — top scorer Beth Mead, captain Leah Williamson and midfielder Keira Walsh — and Kerr’s Canadian teammate at Chelsea, Jessie Fleming.
The other Australian nominated in the “FIFA Best” lists is Alou Kuol, elder brother of Newcastle and Socceroos wunderkind Garang, who is in line for the Puskás Award for best goal of the calendar year.
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The 21-year-old’s stunning “scorpion kick” effort for the Australia’s under-23 side against Iran’s U23s will be judged against 10 other belters, including Kylian Mbappe’s dazzling second for France in the World Cup final.
Messi also heads a list of 14, featuring 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, two-time winner Robert Lewandowski, Paris St Germain teammate Mbappe and Manchester City scoring sensation Erling Haaland.
But it felt like an era was over as Ronaldo’s name was conspicuous by its absence.
The Portuguese, released by Manchester United and benched by Portugal during the World Cup, won the FIFA award for the first two years back in 2016 and 2017 and was on the podium the following three years.
This time, though, while Messi looked sure to be rewarded for orchestrating Argentina’s World Cup triumph, Ronaldo was not even selected as a contender by a FIFA-appointed panel.
Women: Aitana Bonmati, Debinha, Jessie Fleming, Ada Hegerberg, Sam Kerr, Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema, Alex Morgan, Lena Oberdorf, Alexandra Popp, Alexia Putellas, Wendie Renard, Keira Walsh, Leah Williamson.
Men: Julian Alvarez, Jude Bellingham, Karim Benzema, Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland, Achraf Hakimi, Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Neymar, Mohamed Salah, Vinicius Junior