ZURICH: Chelsea won the Champions League and England reached the European Champ­ionship final, but no Englishmen are on the nomination lists for FIFA’s annual awards published on Monday.

Jorginho, a double European champion with Chelsea and Italy, was joined by club team-mate N’Golo Kante among 11 candidates to be voted FIFAs best player in the 2020-21 season.

Paris St Germain forward Lionel Messi and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo took their usual places on the list with last year’s winner, Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and PSG pair Kylian Mbappe and Neymar complete the list.

There are no defenders or goalkeepers in contention for the main FIFA award, though goalkeepers have their own separate award.

Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was named player of the tournament at Euro 2020, is among the five goalkeeping candidates. Liverpool’s Alisson Becker, Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel are also among the nominees.

Thomas Tuchel is a frontrunner for best men’s coach after leading Chelsea to the Champions League title. He faces competition from Roberto Mancini, the mastermind of Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph.

Other nominees are Germany’s Hansi Flick, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, Tottenham Hots­pur boss Antonio Conte, Diego Sime­one and Lionel Scaloni, whose Arge­ntina team won the Copa America.

The winner of the women’s award last year, England defender Lucy Bronze, is nominated again and the 13 candidates include her national and Manchester City team-mate Ellen White.

Olympic gold medal-winning Canada have just one candidate, veteran forward Christine Sinclair, 19 years after she was first voted into the top 10.

No player was nominated from the United States team which took bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.

Four Barcelona players are included on the women’s best player shortlist — Alexia Putellas, Jennifer Hermoso, Aitana Bonmati and Caroline Graham Hansen.

Chelsea, beaten by Barcelona in last season’s Women’s Champions League final, also have four representatives with Sam Kerr, Ji So-yun, Magdalena Eriksson and Pernille Harder.

Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema is in contention too, as is Stina Blackstenius of Sweden.

Two men and three women are in contention to be the best coach in women’s football. They include Beverly Priestman of Canada, England manager Sarina Wiegman, Lluis Cortes of European champions Barcelona, and Emma Hayes of Chelsea.

The prizes for the best men’s and women’s player, coach and goalkeeper are voted for by the captains and coaches of all national teams around the world, as well as an online ballot of fans and a select number of journalists.

Voting will run from November 22 to December 10.

The three finalists in each category will be revealed in early January, with the awards ceremony to be held virtually from FIFA headquarters in Zurich on January 17 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The separate Ballon d’Or award ceremony will be staged in Paris on November 29.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2021



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