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Messi, Haaland and Bonmati lead Ballon d’Or nominees

This year’s men’s Ballon d’Or front-runners include Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland, while Spain’s World Cup star Aitana Bonmati tops the women’s nominees unveiled on Wednesday.

After leading Argentina to a World Cup victory in Qatar last year, Messi, who recently switched from Paris Saint-Germain to Inter Miami, has a chance to succeed Karim Benzema and win the Ballon d’Or for the eighth time in his remarkable career.

Haaland, who helped Manchester City win the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup last season, maybe his main competition for the award after scoring 52 goals in 53 games.

The Norway striker last week won last season’s Uefa player of the year award.

The award winner will be revealed at a ceremony in Paris on October 30. Other nominees for the award include Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City and Kylian Mbappe of PSG.

Benzema, who left Real Madrid in June after 14 years to join the Saudi club Al-Ittihad, is also a nominee.

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