Lionel Messi is hoping to best his fellow professional soccer players…
The 36-year-old Argentine soccer star leads the 12-player shortlist for FIFA’s The Best Mens Player nominees alongside Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé.
Argentina’s national team captain, Messi, now playing for Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, is aiming to win the award for a record third time having been given the honor in 2019 and 2022.
But despite helping Argentina to World Cup glory at Qatar 2022, Messi faces stiff competition from Manchester City forward Haaland after the Norway international scored 52 goals as Pep Guardiola‘s side completed a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble last season.
Julián Álvarez, Marcelo Brozovic, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gündogan, Rodri, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Victor Osimhen and Bernardo Silva make up the shortlist alongside Messi, Haaland, Mbappe and Rice.
Voting for the eighth annual awards opened on Thursday on FIFA.com and closes in mid-October. National team coaches, captains, journalists and fans make up the list of voters.