Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala Make the Ballon d'Or Shortlist
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Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala Make the Ballon d’Or Shortlist

Nigerian football stars Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala have both made it to the 2023 Ballon d’Or shortlist for men’s and women’s categories. The esteemed award ceremony is set to be held in Paris on October 30. 

The duo has had an exceptional year, representing both their clubs and the Nigerian national team. 

Osimhen in the list after roughly a quarter-century

Osimhen, who has scored seven goals in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, is the first Nigerian male player to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or in nearly a quarter-century. Nwankwo Kanu, Nigerian former captain, was the most recent Nigerian player to be nominated for the award, and that was back in 1999.

At just 24 years old, Osimhen the Napoli forward became the first African player to win the Capocannoniere title in Serie A last season. He also made history as the first player from the continent to secure the Scudetto, thanks to his 26 goals in Serie A and a total of 31 goals in 39 matches across all competitions.

Oshola’s exceptional season

Asisat Oshoala, who is 28, has secured her second consecutive Ballon d’Or nomination following a stellar season with Barcelona Femeni, where she clinched the Women’s Champions League title. Last year, she broke new ground as the first African woman to be nominated for the Women’s Ballon d’Or, and this year, she stands as the sole African representative in the women’s category. 

She led the scoring charts for Barcelona Femeni last season with a total of 26 goals, 21 in the league and five in the Women’s Champions League, and played a crucial role in the team’s triumphs in both the league and the Champions League.

What you should know 

Lionel Messi is the frontrunner for a record eighth Ballon d’Or title after leading Argentina to a World Cup win with Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland as strong contenders under review due to their impressive form. 

The men’s shortlist in the Ballon d’Or includes notable players like Bukayo Saka, Mohamed Salah, and Kevin de Bruyne, among others. For the women’s category, Asisat Oshoala is the sole African nominee, with other contenders including Aitana Bonmati and Sam Kerr. 

Jude Bellingham and Rasmus Hojlund are both in contention for the main prize as well as the U-21 Kopa Trophy. The Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper has nominees including Aaron Ramsdale, Andre Onana, Ederson, and Emiliano Martinez.

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