Football stars Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric will lead the challenge against a decade-long dominance of FIFA’s best player award by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Mbappe, the teenage star of France’s World Cup-winning team, and Modric, the Croatia captain who was named the tournament’s best player, joined five-time winners Ronaldo and Messi among 10 candidates announced by FIFA on Tuesday.
Joining the ranks is also Salah, the Egypt forward who was inspirational in Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final, and was the top scorer of the league.
Salah made his debut, after being compared to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, when his remarkable skills helped lead Liverpool to the Champions League for the first time since 2007.
Salah also claimed the league’s Golden Boot award.
For the first time, FIFA has opened voting within days of the World Cup, where Ronaldo and Messi both exited in the round of 16.
France also has Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane, who won a third straight Champions League title alongside Modric and Ronaldo with Real Madrid, on the FIFA list.
Varane is the only defender selected by a FIFA expert panel, which did not pick Brazil star Neymar. The 13-man panel included three Brazilians - former FIFA award winners Ronaldo and Kaka, and 1994 World Cup-winning coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.