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Messi, Ronaldo and Salah make GOAL50 2021 men's shortlist

13:00 GMT 01/11/2021
The two great rivals face competition from the Liverpool ace as well as a plethora of other great players, with fans set to decide this year's winner

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah have all been named on the GOAL50 men's shortlist for 2021.

Robert Lewandowski, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland are also strong contenders for the prestigious annual prize, which has undergone an exciting overhaul.

Indeed, this year, it will be the fans who decide who finishes top of the pile. 

Check out the contenders below and then cast your votes to decide the winner. Voting is open from November 2 until November 16.

  • Dani Alves Brazil Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Dani Alves - Defender, Brazil

    The Brazilian isn't just still playing at 38 years of age, he's still winning, with the most-decorated footballer of all time having added to his medal collection after leading his country to gold at the summer Olympics in Tokyo.
  • Nicolo Barella Inter Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Nicolo Barella - Midfielder, Inter and Italy

    The all-action midfielder excelled during Inter's Serie A title-winning campaign before lifting the European Championship trophy, with the undoubted highlight his crucial opener in the quarter-final win over Belgium.

  • Karim Benzema Real Madrid Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Karim Benzema - Forward, Real Madrid and France

    One of the few success stories of France's Euro 2020 campaign, the centre-forward bagged four goals in total to justify his surprise recall, which had arrived after another stellar season for Real Madrid in which he struck 30 times.

  • Leonardo Bonucci Italy Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Leonardo Bonucci - Defender, Juventus and Italy

    The centre-back helped Juventus salvage a trying Serie A campaign before becoming a national hero with the crucial equaliser in Italy's Euro 2020 final defeat of England.

  • Giorgio Chiellini Juventus Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Giorgio Chiellini - Defender, Juventus and Italy

    Juventus' uncompromising centre-back is 37 but still going strong, as he underlined by shaking off some injury issues to lead Italy to glory at Euro 2020, thus sealing his status as one of the modern game's great defenders.

  • Federico Chiesa Juventus Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Federico Chiesa - Forward, Juventus and Italy

    The long-hyped winger finally emerged as a world-class talent, with Chiesa establishing himself as Juventus' man for the big occasion with his performances in the Champions League before then lighting up Euro 2020 for Italy.

  • Kevin De Bruyne Belgium Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Kevin De Bruyne - Midfielder, Manchester City and Belgium

    The brilliant Belgian was named PFA Players' Player of the Year after inspiring Manchester City to Premier League glory last season, while he also helped Pep Guardiola's side reach the Champions League final.

  • Memphis Depay Barcelona Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Memphis Depay - Forward, Barcelona and Netherlands

    The exciting Dutch attacker finally got his dream move to Barcelona after netting a career-high 20 league goals for Lyon last term, while he was also on target twice for Netherlands at Euro 2020.

  • Ruben Dias Manchester City Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Ruben Dias - Defender, Manchester City and Portugal

    Manchester City knew they had a problem in the centre of defence after losing their Premier League title to Liverpool in 2019-20 and they resolved it by signing the Portugal centre-back, who was named FWA Footballer of the Year.

  • Angel Di Maria Argentina Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Angel Di Maria - Midfielder, PSG and Argentina

    The winger was involved in 20 goals for Paris Saint-Germain last season, including an impressive 15 assists, and, at the Copa America, scored the only goal of Argentina's historic final win over Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.

  • Gigi Donnarumma PSG Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Gianluigi Donnarumma - Goalkeeper, PSG and Italy

    After being named best goalkeeper in Serie A for helping AC Milan secure a return to the Champions League, the giant 22-year-old then claimed the Player of the Tournament award for his pivotal role in Italy's Euro 2020 triumph.

  • Bruno Fernandes Manchester United Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Bruno Fernandes - Midfielder, Manchester United and Portugal

    The catalyst for Manchester United's re-emergence as a major force in England, the attacking midfielder helped himself to 28 goals in all competitions last season, including five during his club's run to the European League final.

  • Phil Foden Manchester City Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Phil Foden - Midfielder, Manchester City and England

    Foden picked up the Premier League Young Player of the Season award for 2020-21 for his role in Manchester City's title triumph, resulting in him making the England's European Championship squad just after his 21st birthday.

  • Jack Grealish Manchester City Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Jack Grealish - Midfielder, Manchester City and England

    Manchester City broke the British transfer record by paying £100m ($140m) for the stylish attacking midfielder, who accumulated seven goals and 10 assists for Aston Villa last season before serving as a high-impact substitute for England at Euro 2020.
  • Ilkay Gundogan Germany Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Ilkay Gundogan - Midfielder, Manchester City and Germany

    The Germany midfielder had never previously managed to hit double figures across a single season but he struck 17 times in all competitions last term, and his goals were crucial to Manchester City's Premier League success.

  • Erling Haaland Borussia Dortmund Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Erling Haaland - Forward, Borussia Dortmund and Norway

    The Norwegian racked up 41 goals in 41 games in all competitions in his first full season at Borussia Dortmund, finishing as top scorer in the Champions League (10) and bagging a double in the DFB-Pokal final win over RB Leipzig.

  • Achraf Hakimi PSG Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Achraf Hakimi - Defender, PSG and Morocco

    Paris Saint-Germain pounced to sign Hakimi, who was involved in 16 goals - seven of which he scored himself - from wing-back during a season that ended with Inter lifting the Serie A trophy.

  • Kai Havertz Chelsea Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Kai Havertz - Forward, Chelsea and Germany

    He initially struggled to settle at Stamford Bridge following his big-money move to Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen but came of age at the business end of the season, netting the winner in the Champions League final.

  • Hulk Atletico Mineiro Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Hulk - Forward, Atletico Mineiro and Brazil

    The Brazilian forward is enjoying a remarkable renaissance since returning to his homeland, with his sensational form for Atletico Mineiro earning him a surprise but deserved Selecao recall at the age of 35.

  • Lorenzo Insigne Napoli Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Lorenzo Insigne - Forward, Napoli and Italy

    Italy won the European Championship at Wembley with an ecstatic Insigne having contributed two goals to the cause, including a stunner in the quarter-final win over Belgium.

  • Jorginho Chelsea Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Jorginho - Midfielder, Chelsea and Italy

    The UEFA Men's Player of the Year silenced his critics by dictating the tempo throughout Chelsea's triumphant Champions League run before helping Italy win Euro 2020, culminating in a dominant display against England at Wembley.

  • Harry Kane Tottenham Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Harry Kane - Forward, Tottenham and England

    Kane last season became only the third player in Premier League history to top the charts for both goals and assists in the same campaign, while also contributing four knockout stage goals to England's run to the Euro 2020 final.

  • N'Golo Kante Chelsea Goal50 SLIDELIST

    N’Golo Kante - Midfielder, Chelsea and France

    The French dynamo was the driving force behind Chelsea's surprise Champions League success and turned in a man of the match-winning performance in the Blues' 1-0 win over Manchester City in Porto.

  • Joshua Kimmich Bayern Munich Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Joshua Kimmich - Midfielder, Bayern Munich and Germany

    Bayern Munich rewarded the Germany international with a new contract in August and it's easy to understand why with him coming off the back of a season in which he scored six goals and set up a further 14.

  • Koke Spain Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Koke - Midfielder, Atletico Madrid and Spain

    The midfielder surpassed 500 games for his hometown club, missing just one match through suspension as Diego Simeone's side claimed the Liga title, with Koke's craft and industry once again key to their success.

  • Takefusa Kubo Mallorca Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Takefusa Kubo - Forward, Real Madrid (on loan at Real Mallorca) and Japan

    After two goals and four assists across last season's loan spells at Villarreal and Getafe, the 20-year-old Real Madrid-owned winger impressed at the Olympics, where he scored in all three of Japan's group games.

  • Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Robert Lewandowski - Forward, Bayern Munich and Poland

    The prolific Pole continues to improve at the age of 33, netting 48 times in just 40 appearances in all competitions in 2020-21, with his 41-goal haul in the Bundesliga breaking Gerd Muller's old single-season record.

  • Romelu Lukaku Belgium Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Romelu Lukaku - Forward, Chelsea and Belgium

    Chelsea re-signed their former forward for £97.5m ($135m) after the 28-year-old had been named Serie A MVP for 2020-21 for firing Inter to a first Scudetto in 11 years before then being included in the Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament.

  • Riyad Mahrez Manchester City Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Riyad Mahrez - Forward, Manchester City and Algeria

    The Algerian winger stepped up for Manchester City during the Champions League, with four of Mahrez's 14 goals in all competitions last season coming in knockout-stage games against Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.

  • Emiliano Martinez Aston Villa Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Emiliano Martinez - Goalkeeper, Aston Villa and Argentina

    Arsenal made a mistake in selling the Argentine to Aston Villa last year, as Martinez quickly proved himself one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League before then winning the Golden Glove award at the Copa America.

  • Lautaro Martinez Argentina Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Lautaro Martinez - Forward, Inter and Argentina

    Inter may have lost Romelu Lukaku during the summer but they managed to hold on to his accomplice, who is now set to be rewarded for his role in last season's Scudetto success (19 goals, seven assists) with a contract extension.

  • Kylian Mbappe PSG Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Kylian Mbappe - Forward, PSG and France

    The forward hit a career-high 42 goals in all competitions last season, which helped him finish as Ligue 1's top scorer, and starred in Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League knockout stage wins at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

  • Edouard Mendy Chelsea Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Edouard Mendy - Goalkeeper, Chelsea and Senegal

    Mendy equalled the record of most clean sheets in a Champions League season (nine) in an excellent debut campaign at Stamford Bridge which culminated in him winning the European Cup in his first-ever season in the competition.

  • Lionel Messi Argentina Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Lionel Messi - Forward, PSG and Argentina

    The new PSG star earned a record-extending eighth top-scorer award in La Liga with Barcelona before picking up the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the Copa America, where Argentina won a first major international tournament since 1993.

  • Gerard Moreno Villarreal Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Gerard Moreno - Forward, Villarreal and Spain

    At 29 years of age, Moreno has gone to a whole other level, with the striker racking up 30 goals, including seven in Villarreal's Europa League triumph, earning him the award for the tournament's best player.

  • Mason Mount Chelsea Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Mason Mount - Midfielder, Chelsea and England

    The midfielder became one of Thomas Tuchel's most reliable performers last season, providing nine goals in all competitions as well as eight assists - including the through ball for Kai Havertz's winner in the Champions League final.

  • Keylor Navas PSG Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Keylor Navas - Goalkeeper, PSG and Costa Rica

    Paris Saint-Germain may have brought in Gigi Donnarumma but they never considered letting Navas go because of his fine form last season, which featured a crucial penalty save from Lionel Messi in the Champions League against Barcelona.

  • Neymar Brazil Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Neymar - Forward, PSG and Brazil

    The attacker endured an injury-hit season at club level but he still bagged 17 goals in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain, before producing a string of influential performances as Brazil reached the final of the Copa America.

  • Jan Oblak Atletico Madrid Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Jan Oblak - Goalkeeper, Atletico Madrid and Slovenia

    As the most reliable goalkeeper in the world, the Slovenian's consistency is now taken for granted and he was named La Liga Player of the season for 2020-21 after keeping an impressive 18 clean sheets during Atletico Madrid's title win.

  • Pedri Barcelona Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Pedri - Midfielder, Barcelona and Spain

    Pedri struck up a wonderful rapport with former captain Lionel Messi before then picking up the Young Player of the Tournament award at Euro 2020 due to his outrageously mature displays for Spain.

  • Paul Pogba Manchester United Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Paul Pogba - Midfielder, Manchester United and France

    The enigmatic Manchester United midfielder showcased his talent brilliantly at Euro 2020 with a couple of the most impressive performances produced in the entire tourname

  • Christian Pulisic USA Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Christian Pulisic - Midfielder, Chelsea and USA

    After playing his part in Chelsea's Champions League triumph, the American winger captained United States to victory at the CONCACAF Nations League, with Pulisic converting a game-winning penalty in the final win over Mexico

  • Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Cristiano Ronaldo - Forward, Manchester United and Portugal

    Manchester United jumped at the chance to bring the Portuguese superstar back to Old Trafford, given the former Juventus ace finished top scorer in both Serie A (29 goals) and Euro 2020 (five) last season.

  • Mohamed Salah Liverpool Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Mohamed Salah - Forward, Liverpool and Egypt

     The first Liverpool player to score 20 goals or more in three different Premier League seasons, the Egypt forward netted 31 times in total across all competitions as he helped the injury-hit Reds rally to a fourth-placed finish.

  • Luke Shaw Manchester United Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Luke Shaw - Defender, Manchester United and England

    Shaw has proven himself one of the best left-backs in the world with his fine form over the past year for Manchester United and England, even coming close to winning Euro 2020 with his opening goal in the final loss to Italy.

  • Mohamed Sherif Al Ahly Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Mohamed Sherif - Forward, Al Ahly and Egypt

    The Al Ahly top-scored in the Egyptian Premier League (21 goals) and the CAF Champions League (six), where he netted in both legs of the semi-final against Esperance before opening the scoring in the final win over Kaizer Chiefs.

  • Son Heung-Min Tottenham Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Son Heung-min - Forward, Tottenham and South Korea

    The South Korean enjoyed his most productive season ever in 2020-21, with his sensational partnership with fellow Tottenham forward Harry Kane resulting in Son scoring 22 goals in all competitions, and creating a further 17.

  • Raheem Sterling England Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Raheem Sterling - Forward, Manchester City and England

    The England winger proved his class in sensational fashion at Euro 2020, by almost single handedly carrying his country through to the knockout stage and continuing to shine thereafter.

  • Luis Suarez Atletico Madrid Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Luis Suarez - Forward, Atletico Madrid and Uruguay

    Barcelona gifted Atletico Madrid the title last season by allowing Suarez to move there for free and the Uruguay striker became an instant hero with 21 Liga goals, including two vital strikes in the final two games of the season.

  • Burak Yilmaz Lille Goal50 SLIDELIST

    Burak Yilmaz - Forward, Lille and Turkey

    One of the signings of last season, the Turkey international took Ligue 1 by storm, scoring 16 times in 28 appearances as Lille sensationally pipped Paris Saint-Germain to top spot to claim the club's first title in 10 years.