Le­ices­ter trio take on Messi, Ron­aldo for award

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

ZURICH:

Three Le­ices­ter play­ers will try to end the eight-year grip of Lionel Messi and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo on the FIFA player of the year award.

Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante were named Fri­day along­side Messi and Ron­aldo in the 23man list of con­tenders. Kante has moved to Chelsea since Le­ices­ter won the Pre­mier League ti­tle in May.

Messi won his fifth FIFA award last sea­son and Ron­aldo has won it three times. Ron­aldo is the likely fa­vorite for 2016 as a dou­ble Euro­pean cham­pion: Por­tu­gal won its first Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship and Real Madrid won a record 11th Euro­pean Cup ti­tle in last sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League.

While no other Por­tu­gal play­ers are nom­i­nated, the FIFA Football Com­mit­tee picked four more from Madrid: Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, Luka Mo­dric and Ser­gio Ramos.

Messi is joined by Barcelona team­mates Neymar, Luis Suarez and An­dres Ini­esta. All 23 nom­i­nees play for clubs in Europe. Euro­pean na­tional teams pro­vide 17 play­ers, and five are from South Amer­ica. Mahrez, who is from Al­ge­ria, is the only nom­i­nee from an African na­tional team. No Asian na­tions are rep­re­sented.

Vot­ing will be held by na­tional team cap­tains and coaches, se­lected me­dia members and an online fan poll. Each sec­tion will count for 25 per­cent of the fi­nal tally.

FIFA will an­nounce the three-man short­list on Dec. 2. The re­branded Best FIFA Awards cer­e­mony will be held on Jan. 9 in Zurich. — AP

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