LONDON >> Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar are the contenders for FIFA’s top player award for the third straight year.
The nominations were announced in London today, with Ronaldo favored to join Messi as a five-time winner. The prizes will be handed out at the London Palladium theater on Oct. 23.
While Ronaldo won the Spanish league and Champions League at Real Madrid, Messi and Neymar collected only the Copa del Rey title with Barcelona. Off the field, the three players have all been embroiled in tax cases in Spain over the last year.
Carli Lloyd is in contention to sweep a hat trick of women’s player awards. The American midfielder is being challenged by Lieke Martens, whose goals powered the Netherlands to the European Championship, and 18-year-old Deyna Castellanos, who won the South American Under-17 Championship 2016.
In the coach of the year categories, most are being recognized for their achievements at club level. The nominees for the men’s prize are Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus), Antonio Conte (Chelsea) and Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid). The women’s coaching contenders are Nils Nielsen (Denmark), Gerard Precheur (Lyon) and Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands).