By Victor Kanayo
Three top-rated African footballers – Victor Osimhen, Mohamed Salah and Andre Onana are among those shortlisted for the 2023 men’s Ballon d’Or.
Also listed is Argentine senior national team captain, Lionel Messi and Norway’s Erling Haaland.
African Stars In The List
While Osimhen, a Nigerian international plays for Napoli of Italy’s Serie A, Salah, an Egyptian playmaker stars for Liverpool FC in the Premier League.
Onana, a Cameroonian is a goalkeeper currently with Manchester United. Before joining United, he was pivotal to Milan’s success last season.
Messi, 36, now Inter Miami player has claimed a record seven Ballon d’Or trophies in his illustrious career and is favourite to win another after helping Argentina win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Despite his international exploits last season, Messi was a shadow of himself in his former club, Paris Saint-Germain, before he left for MLS.
Haaland who shone like a million star last season will be among his biggest challengers after scoring 52 goals for Manchester City in his debut term, which helped Pep Guardiola’s side to win a historic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.
Kylian Mbappe of France is another notable footballer in the shortlist of this year’s Ballon d’Or, rearing to challenge Messi and Haaland.
Mbappe scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final and, despite ending up on the losing side, dragged France to within an inch of defending their title.
His compatriot, Karim Benzema, who won the prize in 2022, also makes the shortlist, but there is no space for Cristiano Ronaldo, who endured an indifferent spell with Manchester United before moving to Saudi side Al-Nassr in January.
Oshoala In Women’s Shortlist
Nigeria’s Super Falcons striker Asisat Oshoala made the cut in the Women’s category alongside Spain’s Aitana Bonmati.
Oshoala dazzled for Barcelona last season, being part of the squad that won Women’s Champions League.
The Super Falcons forward emerged as the top scorer of the Spanish Iberdrola league for the second consecutive season, despite struggling throughout the season with niggling injuries.
Her goals also helped the Catalan-based club to retain their domestic and European title.
The Nigerian international also lived up to the billing at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, scoring Nigeria’s third goal in a 3-2 group-stage win against co-hosts the Matildas of Australia.
The Super Falcons were eventually eliminated from the Round of 16 stage of the tournament to European champions England. The match ended in a goalless draw after 120 minutes before the Nigerian ladies bowed out to their European counterparts 4-2 on penalties.
Bonmati is nominated for the Ballon d’Or Feminin after leading Spain to World Cup glory in August and winning the Golden Ball in the process.
Chelsea’s Sam Kerr, who took third place in 2021 and 2022, missed out on a nomination despite her 29 goals helping her club to a domestic double in 2023.
Ballon d’Or Presentation
The 2023 Ballon d’Or will be the 67th annual ceremony of the Ballon d’Or, presented by France Football, recognising the best footballers in the world in the 2022–23 season.
For the second time in the history of the award, it will be given based on the results of the season instead of the calendar year.
This is the period from August 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023. The ceremony will take place on October 30, 2023 and nominees will be announced on September 6, 2023.
Full List of Men’s Ballon d’Or
André Onana – Manchester United/Cameroon
Josko Gvardiol – Manchester City/Croatia
Karim Benzema – Al Ittihad/France
Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich/Germany
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool/Egypt
Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid/England
Bukayo Saka – Arsenal/England
Randal Kolo Muani – Paris Saint-Germain/France
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City/Belgium
Bernardo Silva – Manchester City/Portugal
Emiliano Martínez – Aston Villa/Argentina
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – Napoli/Georgia
Rúben Dias – Manchester City/Portugal
Nicolo Barella – Inter Milan/Italy
Erling Haaland – Manchester City/Norway
Yassine Bounou – Al Hilal/Morocco
Martin Ødegaard – Arsenal/Norway
Julián Álvarez – Manchester City/Argentina
Ilkay Gündogan – Barcelona/Germany
Vinícius Júnior – Real Madrid/Brazil
Lionel Messi – Inter Miami/Argentina
Rodri – Manchester City/Spain
Lautaro Martínez – Inter Milan/Argentina
Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid/France
Robert Lewandowski – Barcelona/Poland
Kylian Mbappé – Paris Saint-Germain/France
Kim Min-jae – Napoli/South Korea
Victor Osimhen – Napoli/Nigeria
Luka Modric – Real Madrid/Croatia
Harry Kane – Bayern Munich/England