Three top player shortlisted for the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year
The winner will be unveiled on January 17, with all three forwards in contention after enjoying sensational goal-scoring form for their respective clubs.
Messi has taken home the gong on no less than six occasions, while Lewandowski emerged triumphant last year ahead of the PSG talisman and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Liverpool ace Salah is arguably in the form of his career, and has been rewarded for another dazzling season at Anfield. This term, he has scored 23 goals in 26 matches.
As a result, he leads the way in the shootout for the Premier League’s Golden Boot, and is also narrowly behind Lewandowski in the Golden Shoe chase.
Lewandowski netted a record-breaking 41 goals for Bayern Munich last campaign, and hit 43 across the calendar year, helping him surpass all-time great Gerd Muller.
He will hope to defend his title despite fierce competition from Messi, who, despite a year of upheaval, still managed jaw-dropping heroics in front of goal.
Despite leaving his boyhood club Barcelona in emotional fashion before heading to PSG, Messi lifted the Copa America – his first senior trophy with Argentina.
To cap it off, the diminutive legend also won his seventh Ballon d’Or last month.
In a shock twist, Manchester United talisman Ronaldo failed to make the cut.
For only the second time since he was first nominated for the awards in 2007, the 36-year-old will not be in contention to take home the prestigious piece of silverware.
He also missed out in 2010, and has suffered the same fate this time around after Juventus’ struggles in Serie A and Portugal’s last-16 elimination at Euro 2020.
Surprisingly, no player from Italy’s European Championship-winning side or the Chelsea squad which lifted the Champions League made the shortlist.
The voting was conducted by national team coaches and captains, specialist media and football fans making their choices online.
They chose from a list of players, which was put forward by FIFA-appointed panels.
Among those also missing out are Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Kevin De Bruyne, Jorginho, Neymar and N’Golo Kante.
FIFA will officially unveil the winner of the award in an online ceremony in Zurich.