A banner year for the world game Down Under has been recognised in the nominations for FIFA’s awards.
Three members of the Matildas’ awe-inspiring World Cup team have been nominated to be crowned best women’s player – Sam Kerr, Mary Fowler and Caitlin Foord.
Australia’s women’s coach Tony Gustavsson is also up for the gong of best women’s coach after guiding the hosts to a semi-final appearance, while Mackenzie Arnold is in the mix for best women’s goalkeeper.
Coaching sensation Ange Postecoglou is flying the flag for the men. He’s up against the likes of Pep Guardiola and Xavi for the crown of best men’s coach after following a dominant spell with Celtic by leading Tottenham to second place on the English Premier League table in the early stages of the season.
Women’s World Cup player of the tournament Aitana Bonmati and her Spain teammate Jenni Hermoso were on Thursday nominated for the FIFA Best Player award, with six of Manchester City’s treble winners named on the men’s list.
Bonmati and three of her World Cup-winning teammates, including Hermoso, were among the 16 nominees for women’s best player.
Hermoso has been in the spotlight recently after being forcibly kissed on the lips by Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales following the World Cup final win over England in Sydney.
The disgraced Rubiales has since resigned from the post and is due in court on Friday on sexual assault charges.
Manchester City strikers Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez and midfielders Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and Bernardo Silva are all in contention for the men’s prize.
Ilkay Gundogan, who won the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League with City before leaving for Barcelona, was also nominated.
Last year’s winner Lionel Messi made the cut as well after his recent good form for MLS club Inter Miami.
Controversial World Cup-winning Spain coach Jorge Vilda, who has since been sacked, was left off the shortlist for best women’s coach.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola, Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi and Postecoglou are on the men’s list.
Women’s best player nominees: Aitana Bonmati (ESP), Linda Caicedo (COL), Rachel Daly (ENG), Kadidiatou Diani (FRA), Caitlin Foord (AUS), Mary Fowler (AUS), Alex Greenwood (ENG), Jenni Hermoso (ESP), Lindsey Horan (USA), Amanda Ilestedt (SWE), Lauren James (ENG), Sam Kerr (AUS), Mapi Leon (ESP), Hinata Miyazawa (JPN), Salma Paralluelo (ESP), Keira Walsh (ENG)
Men’s best player nominees: Julian Alvarez (ARG), Marcelo Brozovic (CRO), Kevin De Bruyne (BEL), Ilkay Gundogan (GER), Erling Haaland (NOR), Rodri (ESP), Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (GEO), Kylian Mbappe (FRA), Lionel Messi (ARG), Victor Osimhen (NGR), Declan Rice (ENG), Bernardo Silva (POR)
Women’s best coach nominees: Peter Gerhardsson (SWE), Jonatan Giraldez (ESP), Tony Gustavsson (SWE), Emma Hayes (ENG), Sarina Wiegman (NED)
Men’s best coach nominees: Pep Guardiola (ESP), Simone Inzaghi (ITA), Ange Postecoglou (AUS), Luciano Spalletti (ITA), Xavi (ESP)
– with AFP