Messi, CR7's FIFA nomination questioned

World News

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's inclusion as finalists for The Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year crown has been questioned ahead of Thursday's much-anticipated awards ceremony.

Perennial contenders Messi and Ronaldo both feature alongside Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski as the three finalists for this year's The Best FIFA Men's Player award.

While Lewandowski is the clear favourite to win the coveted prize following his record-breaking exploits last season, which included him winning the Golden Boot award in the each of the Bundesliga, the German Cup and the UEFA Champions League, Messi and Ronaldo's inclusion in the top three has been questioned.

Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov is one of the dissenting voices against the duo's inclusion among 2020's finalists, and he has suggested that their presence on the podium this year has been influenced by non-footballing factors.

Scroll through the gallery below to see the 11 players who were originally nominated for 2020's The Best FIFA Men's Player award

"I'm surprised that Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are among the finalists," Berbatov said in his weekly Betfair column.

"I'm not sure that either of them should occupy those places but, unfortunately, football is a business and behind the scenes, there is the work being done by agents, the press... there's a lot more going on than just the cameras and what we see.

"The Best for 2020 should go to Lewandowski and if (he) doesn't win, it would be hugely unfair."

The former Bulgaria international stopped short of saying who deserved to be among the three finalists instead, but stressed his view that it was irrelevant after the season Lewandowski enjoyed with Bayern.

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"I'm not too sure who should be up there with Lewandowski," he continued. "As always, everyone has their own ideas about which players are the best or who should win... This year it doesn't really matter, as whoever comes second or third, Lewandowski is who deserves to win.

"Lewandowski is one of the best forwards in modern football. And this is a subject that, at the end of the day, not everyone is going to agree on.

"Of course, there are other great strikers like [Harry] Kane, Messi, Cristiano, [Sergio] Aguero who have been scoring a lot of goals for many years and who are among the best. But the way Lewandowski moves on the pitch... for me, he is in my top three forwards right now, he's magnificent."

The winner of this year's award will be crowned on Thursday, 17 December, during the virtual The Best FIFA Football Awards event.

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