The Ballon d'Or is the most prestigious individual prize in football while the Best FIFA Men's Player Award comes a close second. We'll see which players walk home with the honours pretty soon.
The Ballon d'Or and Best FIFA Men's Player Awards use different voting systems
There is a slight difference in the way both awards are decided. The Ballon d'Or winner is chosen on the basis of an aggregate of votes from journalists, national team captains and coaches.
Meanwhile, the Best FIFA Men's Player Award is given on the basis of a different voting system. Voters are grouped into four categories: National Team coaches, National Team captains, Media representatives from each country, and fans from across the world all have 25% vote share each.
The Ballon d'Or is awarded by French news magazine France Football. They had released a 30-man shortlist in early October. FIFA have announced a 11-man shortlist for the Best FIFA Men's Player Award which goes as follows:
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah, Robert Lewandowski, Kevin De Bruyne, N'Golo Kante, Jorginho, Karim Benzema, Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Without further ado, let's take a look at five of the best Ballon d’Or Nominees who are not on the Best FIFA Men's Player shortlist.
#5 Luis Suarez (Uruguay/Atletico Madrid)
Luis Suarez being unceremoniously shown the exit door at Barcelona was one of the biggest stories of the summer of 2020. The Uruguayan was left heartbroken but managed to cop a move to Barcelona's title rivals Atletico Madrid.
Suarez hit the ground running at the Wanda Metropolitano and proved to the world that he is an elite striker despite being on the wrong side of 30. The Uruguayan international was Atletico Madrid's top scorer as they pipped Real Madrid and Barcelona to the La Liga title.
Suarez scored 21 goals and provided three assists in 32 appearances in La Liga. His getting revenge on Barcelona for the poor treatment meted out to him inspite of all his contributions was one of the highlights of the 2020-21 season.
If he had been a little more prolific or even won another trophy, Suarez would have definitely made the Best FIFA Men's Player shortlist.
#4 Lautaro Martinez (Argentina/Inter Milan)
Lautaro Martinez has become Argentina's first-choice striker in recent times. The Inter Milan frontman is a technically adept forward whose movement, dribbling and physicality are simply exemplary.
Martinez struck up a wonderful strike partnership with Romelu Lukaku at Inter Milan and it proved to be crucial to their winning the Serie A title after 11 years. He scored 19 goals and provided 11 assists in 48 appearances across all competitions for the Nerazzurri in the 2020-21 season.
The 24-year-old then scored three goals in six appearances for Argentina as they won the 2021 Copa America in the summer. Martinez is undoubtedly one of the best u25 strikers in the game right now. If he had scored more goals, he would have definitely had a place in the FIFA Best Men's Player shortlist.
#3 Bruno Fernandes (Portugal/Manchester United)
Bruno Fernandes has been a class apart over the past couple of seasons. The Portuguese international has been Manchester United's best player since joining in the 2020 January transfer window.
The 27-year-old was the Red Devils' top scorer and top assist provider in the 2020-21 season. He scored a whopping 28 goals and provided 17 assists in 57 appearances across all competitions for Manchester United. What's even more impressive is that he clocked those numbers while playing in midfield.
Fernandes' quick thinking and technical abilities make him a threat like no other in the final third. He has a wonderful passing and shooting range. However, he was nowhere near his best as Portugal crashed out of Euro 2020 in the Round of 16.
The lack of trophies will have greatly affected Fernandes' chances in the race for the Best FIFA Men's Player Award.
#2 Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/Chelsea)
Romelu Lukaku has established himself as one of the best strikers in the world over the past two seasons. After an underwhelming spell at Manchester United, Antonio Conte helped the Belgian striker get back to his best at Inter Milan.
Lukaku repaid the faith placed in him by the Italian manager by leading from the front in Inter Milan's triumphant Serie A campaign. Lukaku scored 30 goals and provided 10 assists in 44 appearances across all competitions for the Nerazzurri in the 2020-21 season.
He was immense for Antonio Conte's side and if not for their financial troubles, they would have definitely tried to hold onto him this summer. The 28-year-old scored four goals in five appearances at Euro 2020 and was one of Belgium's best players in their run to the quarter-finals.
Lukaku is one of the biggest names missing from the Best FIFA Men's Player shortlist.
#1 Harry Kane (England/Tottenham Hotspur)
Harry Kane has got off to a poor start to the 2021-22 season. But he was in staggering form last term and was one of the best players across Europe's top five leagues.
Kane won the Premier League Golden Boot and the Playmaker Award for being the top scorer and the top assist provider respectively. In 49 appearances across all competitions for Spurs in the 2020-21 season, the Englishman scored 33 goals and provided 17 assists.
Kane was off-colour in the group stages of Euro 2020 for England. However, he kicked into gear in the knockout stages and ended the tournament with four goals in seven appearances as the Three Lions finished as runners-up.