Sport

Messi Battles Ronaldo For FIFA's Best Player Award

’Tana Aiyejina

Holder Cristiano Ronaldo and his Barcelona rival Lionel Messi have been nominated for the Best FIFA Men’s Player for the second year running.

However, only two Africans Super Falcons coach Florence Omagbemi (Best FIFA Women’s Coach category) and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Best FIFA Men’s Player category) are on the list of the nominees.

The list was compiled by a panel of former football greats including Austin Okocha, Diego Maradona, Cafu, Carles Puyol and Edwin van der Sar.

Real Madrid star Ronaldo, winner of the maiden edition of the award last year, faces a contest from Messi and 22 other players listed for the award.

The award, which covers the period of November 20, 2016, to July 2, 2017, is voted for by national team coaches, captains, selected media and fans and would be handed out at the Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony on October 23 in London.

Ronaldo’s nomination comes after a year that saw him help Madrid to a third Champions League crown in four seasons and a first La Liga title in five years, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup.

He scored twice as Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final, while also finishing top scorer in the competition with 12 goals.

New Paris Saint-Germain signing Neymar, Juventus duo Paulo Dybala and Gianluigi Buffon are named after impressing on the way to the Champions League final.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane is on the list, having finished top of the Premier League goalscoring charts for the second campaign in a row, although Spurs’ season ended in disappointment, as they failed to win a trophy.

Ex-Falcons captain Omagbemi led Nigeria to an eighth AWCON title in Cameroon last year and is one of the 10 names on the list for The Best FIFA Women’s Coach.

There were no Africans at all among the nominations for the awards for men’s coach or women’s player that were announced by football’s world governing body on Thursday.

Gabon striker Aubameyang was the top scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 31 goals for Borussia Dortmund.

The winners from each category would be revealed at a ceremony in London in October.

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