Men’s Ballon d’Or winners this year include Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland, while Spain World Cup player Aitana Bonmati is at the top of the list of candidates for the women’s award, which was revealed on Wednesday.
After guiding Argentina to World Cup triumph in Qatar last year, Messi, who just left Paris Saint-Germain for Inter Miami, is in the running to replace Karim Benzema and win the Ballon d’Or for an incredible seventh time in his illustrious career.
Given that he scored 52 goals in 53 games to help Manchester City win the FA Cup, the Premier League, and the Champions League last season, Haaland could be his biggest competitor for the award.
The UEFA player of the year accolade for the previous season went to the Norwegian striker last week.
The 30 candidates for the honor include Haaland’s City colleague Kevin De Bruyne and Kylian Mbappe of PSG. The winner will be revealed at an event in Paris on October 30.
Benzema is also a nominee. He left Real Madrid in June after 14 years there to join Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia.
After becoming the best player when Spain won the World Cup in Sydney last month, Bonmati, the winner of the UEFA Women’s Player Award, seems to be the front-runner to win the Ballon d’Or.
She also shone when Barcelona won the Champions League, and she aims to follow in the footsteps of her international and club teammate Alexia Putellas, who has won the previous two years.
Putellas missed nine months of action for Barcelona previous season due to a damaged anterior cruciate knee ligament, for which she was not nominated this time.
Along with Olga Carmona, Salma Paralluelo, and Alba Redondo, Bonmati is one of four players from Spain’s World Cup-winning squad who have been nominated.
Patricia Guijarro and Mapi Leon, their fellow countrymen, are also mentioned.
Having been part of a group of fifteen players who declared last year that they no longer wanted to play for Spain in protest against the Spanish federation and coach Jorge Vilda, neither Barcelona player qualified for the World Cup.
Sam Kerr, a striker for Chelsea and Australia, and Mary Earps, an English goalkeeper, are among the other thirty candidates.