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The shortlist for The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2020 has been revealed, and it’s all the usual suspects in contention for the prestigious award and a nice big pat on the back.
For those who need a quick refresh, this gong is what used to be FIFA World Player of the Year until a temporary merger with the Ballon d’Or in 2010 – when it became known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
That uneasy union split up in 2016 so now we have the awkwardly-named ‘Best’ awards, which this year celebrates the achievements of players between July 20, 2019 and October 7, 2020.
That time period takes into account the elongated domestic campaigns and rescheduled European competitions of last season, with a panel of experts compiling a list of likely candidates in several different categories.
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Voting is equally weighted between fans, journalists, national team coaches and national team captains with the overall winners set to be revealed in an awards ceremony in Zurich on December 17.
Lionel Messi is the current holder of the Men’s Player award and is hunting his seventh trophy, having also won in 2009 as well as picking up the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
But the Barcelona superstar is only a long shot to add to his haul, despite finishing last season as top scorer and top assist-maker in La Liga.
The Argentine scored 25 goals and set-up a further 21 but Barca failed to win the title, finishing five points behind Real Madrid and getting knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage in embarrassing fashion after an 8-2 hammering by Bayern Munich.
Messi’s great rival Cristiano Ronaldo had a more successful season, banging in 31 goals as Juventus won Serie A.
That made the Portuguese talisman the first player to ever score 50 goals in the the top Italian, Spanish and English leagues – no mean feat.
However, CR7 is not favourite to scoop the Best Player award either.
That is because Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski is – at the time of writing – the odds-on favourite after a truly staggering campaign.
The powerhouse Pole claimed the quintuple with the Bavarian giants and became just the second player ever – behind Johan Cruyff – to win a treble including the Champions League/European Cup while top-scoring in all three competitions.
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Lewandowski is currently priced as favourite to take the overall honours, although punters may be interested in some outside contenders.
Kylian Mbappe finished the curtailed Ligue 1 season as joint-top scorer and also became the youngster player to score 15 goals in the Champions League during PSG’s run to the final.
Kevin De Bruyne continued to drag Manchester City forward with 13 goals and 20 assists on their way to second in the Premier League, and the Belgian was named Premier League Player of the Season for his efforts.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while in-copy odds are correct at time of publication but subject to change
FIFA Men’s Player of the Year 2020 favourites
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