Messi, Haaland And Bonmati Lead Ballon d’Or Nominees

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland are among the favorites to win this year’s Ballon d’Or, while Spain World Cup star Aitana Bonmati leads the women’s candidates unveiled on Wednesday.

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After leading Argentina to World Cup triumph in Qatar last year, Messi, who recently left PSG for Inter Miami, is in with a chance of surpassing Karim Benzema and earning the Ballon d’Or for the eighth time in his incredible career.

Haaland, who helped Manchester City win the treble of the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup last season, could be his biggest competition for the award.

Last Monday, the Norwegian striker was named UEFA player of the year for the previous season.

PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Haaland’s City teammate Kevin De Bruyne are also among the 30 nominees for the award, which will be unveiled on October 30 in Paris.

Benzema, who left Real Madrid after 14 years in June to join Saudi club Al-Ittihad, is also nominated.

Bonmati, the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, appears to be the favorite to win the Ballon d’Or after leading Spain to World Cup victory in Sydney last month.

She also played a key role in Barcelona’s Champions League victory, and she hopes to follow in the footsteps of her club and international colleague Alexia Putellas, who won the competition the previous two years.

Putellas is not nominated this year because she barely played for Barcelona previous season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament in July 2022, which forced her to miss nine months.

Along with Olga Carmona, Salma Paralluelo, and Alba Redondo, Bonmati is one of four members of Spain’s World Cup-winning team to be nominated.

Their compatriots Patricia Guijarro and Mapi Leon are also named.

Both from Barcelona, they did not participate in the World Cup after announcing last year that they no longer wanted to play for Spain in a protest against the Spanish federation and coach Jorge Vilda.

Chelsea and Australia attacker Sam Kerr, as well as England goalkeeper Mary Earps, are among the 30 nominations.

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