By Victor Kanayo
Nigerian international and Napoli goal poacher Victor Osimhen became the only African player on the shortlist as he was nominated for the 2023 Best FIFA Player of the Year award.
The Nigerian superstar was nominated alongside Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Kylian Mbappe in the men’s category of the award.
Last season, he scored 26 goals in 32 league appearances for his club.
Osimhen who led Napoli to a historic Seria A triumph, has already scored three goals in three league appearances this season.
Messi, Others Also Listed
Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is the current holder of the most prestigious individual award handed out by world football governing body.
He is back to defend that crown after helping Argentina to World Cup glory at Qatar 2022.
Haaland is another leading contender for the top prize after his 52 goals contributed to Manchester City claiming a historic Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League Treble in 2022-23.
Paris Saint-Germain superstar Mbappe scored a hat-trick for France in the World Cup final, only to end up on the losing side, and has remained a model of consistency at club level.
Declan Rice, Kevin De Bruyne, Julian Alvarez and Bernardo Silva are among the nominees.
While the list of contenders is loaded with talent and trophies, there is no place for Portuguese icon Cristiano Ronaldo – who has also been overlooked in the Ballon d’Or race for 2023.
How Winner Will Emerge
The winner of the award will be decided by votes from an international jury comprising national team captains and coaches, journalists, and fans from all over the world.
The winner will be announced at the FIFA Best Awards ceremony on January 17, 2024.