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    Messi, Lewandowski, Salah for FIFA Best

    FIFA The Best 2021 shortlist: Robert Lewandowski has been joined by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and PSG’s Lionel Messi in the 3-man shortlist. The winner of the award will be announced on January 17.

    Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah and Robert Lewandowski have been named by FIFA’s last three nominees for Best Male Player. Ballon d’Or was previously won by Lionel Messi. Football fans are wondering if Messi will also win the FIFA Best Player award. Last year’s FIFA Best Award winner was Bayern Munich and Polish striker Lewandowski.

    Messi is likely, but Lewandowski deserves the award, according to many football observers. Salah, who finished seventh in the Ballon d’Or, has reached the last three, much to the delight of Liverpool fans.

    Barcelona’s Alexis Putis, Jennifer Hermoso and Chelsea striker Sam Kerr are the last three nominees for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

    Robert Lewandowski would be keen to win FIFA The Best Men’s Player of the Year for the second year in a row, having been named in the 3-man shortlist. He is accompanied by Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah while Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe have missed out.

    Just a couple of months ago, the Ballon d’Or 2021 had led to a huge debate as Messi edged Lewandowski to win his 7th Golden Ball. Even after the results were announced, many continued to argue the Bayern Munich striker’s case who unarguably had an unparalleled year on a personal level.

    Lewandowski, who had won FIFA The Best award last year, would be keen to fend off competition from PSG’s Messi and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah. With the winner of the award to be announced at the Best Fifa Football Awards in Zurich on 17 January, here’s a look at the statistics of the three contenders:

    Robert Lewandowski: The player with the most goals in a calendar year for the third year running, Lewandowski bagged a whopping 69 goals for club and country across competitions in 2021. He also broke two Bundesliga records last year by scoring 41 goals for Bayern in the 2020-21 season and 43 in the calendar year of 2021. Both of these records were held by the legendary Gerd Mueller.

    Lewandowski also won the Bundesliga title, the German Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, when it comes to team trophies last year.

    Lionel Messi: A name that needs no introduction, Messi finds himself on the shortlist once again despite having a mixed year. The first half of the last year was unparalleled for Messi, winning his first-ever international trophy with Argentina in the form of Copa America. Messi was also the top-scoring player for Barcelona last year despite leaving the club in the summer.

    However, the second half of the year (the 2021-22 campaign so far for Paris Saint-Germain) wasn’t as fulfilling as Messi would’ve liked it to be. The 34-year-old only had one league goal in the first half of the season, leaving even his most ardent fans astonished. Overall, Messi had bagged 43 goals and 18 assists last year.

    Mohamed Salah: Having finished 3rd behind Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, Salah finds himself among the top 3 candidates for the second time in the race to be named FIFA The Best Player of the Year. The Egyptian has been rewarded for another stellar campaign for Liverpool. 

    The 2021-22 season, so far, has been quite rewarding for Salah. The 29-year-old is the leading goalscorer in the Premier League at present with 16 strikes in 20 games. He is also the joint-highest assist provider with 9 in the league. Overall in 2021, Salah had finished with 39 goals and 11 assists last year.

    KEY HIGHLIGHTS

    • The shortlist for FIFA The Best Men’s Player of the Year was announced on Friday
    • Robert Lewandowksi, Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah have been named in the 3-man shortlist
    • Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski had won the award last year

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