Lionel Messi, Alex Morgan lead FIFA Best award final nominees

Messi given guard of honour on return to PSG training (0:33)

Lionel Messi was given a guard of honour by his PSG teammates on his return to training after winning the World Cup with Argentina. (0:33)

Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe lead the final shortlist for The Best FIFA Men's Player award, while Alex Morgan is one of the favourites to win the women's prize.

Messi was beaten to The Best FIFA Men's Player award by Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski last year. Alexia Putellas won the women's award last January.

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The latest shortlist was narrowed down to the final three on Friday with Messi and Mbappe up against Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema to win the award.

Messi, 35, won his first ever World Cup title as Lionel Scaloni's side beat Mbappe and France on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw. The 35-year-old contributed seven goals and three assists in seven matches at the tournament in Qatar.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward also has 29 goal contributions in 25 appearances for the French champions this season.

Mbappe also impressed during the World Cup in Qatar by picking up the Golden Boot with eight goals and becoming only the second male player to score a hat trick in the final.

The women's shortlist was narrowed down to Morgan, Putellas and Beth Mead.

Morgan finished as the NWSL's top scorer last season in her debut with the San Diego Wave, scoring 15 times in 17 appearances.

The United States forward was named player of the tournament at the CONCACAF Championship, notably netting the winner in the final.

Putellas had a strong year before an ACL injury just before Euro 2022 that ruled her out of action ever since.

The midfielder scored 34 goals in all competitions for Barcelona, helping lead her side to a domestic treble. She was also the Champions League top scored with 11 goals.

Putellas is vying to become the first person to win The Best FIFA Women's award for a second consecutive season after she won the women's Ballon d'Or in 2022 as well.

Arsenal forward Mead won player of the tournament after scoring six goals for England in their Euro 2022 winning campaign last summer. She finished as runner-up in the 2022 Ballon d'Or feminin to Barcelona's Putellas.

Mead ruptured an ACL in November and faces a lengthy period out through injury, though England coach Sarina Wiegman said it is too "early" to rule the forward out of the World Cup starting in July.

The England boss also made the final shortlist for The Best FIFA Women's Coach award alongside Brazil boss Pia Sundhage and Lyon manager Sonia Bompastor.

FIFA's The Best award was first handed out in its present guise to Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016. Previously, the FIFA World Player of the Year award ran parallel to France Football's Ballon d'Or from 1991 to 2009.

However, from 2010 to 2015, the two awards merged to become the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

Ronaldo is the only player to win the award twice, when he retained it in 2017, though Messi could equal his tally.

The awards will be presented on Feb. 27.