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UEFA Men's Player of the Year nominee: The case for Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is one of the top three nominees for the 2022/23 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award.

Former Paris forward Lionel Messi is one of the top three nominees for the 2022/23 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award.

UEFA.com analyses why he is in the running alongside Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland.

Men's Player of the Year nominees

Why he was nominated

Though Messi starred for Paris and ended the season with his second Ligue 1 title, it was his exploits at the FIFA World Cup with Argentina that really caught the eye.

Lionel Messi with the World Cup trophy
Lionel Messi with the World Cup trophyGetty Images

An icon of his generation, Messi became the first Argentinian to lift the World Cup since Diego Maradona, scoring seven goals in the process as he was awarded the Golden Ball for best overall player at the finals. In March, he became only the third player in history to reach 100 international goals.

2022/23 in numbers

World Cup winner, World Cup Golden Ball winner, Ligue 1 winner

UEFA Champions League
Appearances: 7
Goals: 4
Assists: 4
Player of the Match awards: 1

Lionel Messi's 2022/23 Champions League goals and assists

Domestic League
Appearances: 32
Goals: 16
Assists: 16

Top three performances

Argentina 2-1 Australia
Messi scored the opening goal and was player of the match in this World Cup round of 16 tie. This was his 1,000th career appearance and 100th as captain of his country. He also became the most-capped South American player of all time and surpassed Maradona for most World Cup finals outings for Argentina (22).

Argentina 3-3 France
A World Cup final for the ages. The Albiceleste talisman opened the scoring from the penalty spot and fired them back ahead in extra time only for Kylian Mbappé’s hat-trick to take the game to penalties. Messi, of course, converted in the shoot-out as Argentina ended their 36-year wait for another global crown.

Highlights: Paris 7-2 M. Haifa

Paris 7-2 Maccabi Haifa
Messi curled home the opening goal of the game and whipped in a wonderful effort from the edge of the box to make it 4-1 – the 129th goal of his Champions League career. Added two assists for good measure.

Who was last year's winner?

Karim Benzema was the 2021/22 UEFA Men's Player of the Year after winning the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid and the UEFA Nations League with France. His final tally of 15 Champions League goals – including a joint-record ten in the knockout stages – earned him top spot in the competition scoring charts, with 27 in the Spanish Liga also a domestic best.