Nigerian duo Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala were both nominated for the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards in the Male and Female categories, respectively, making Nigeria the first-ever African country to have nominees in both categories in the same year.
FC Barcelona Femeni and Super Falcons striker Oshoala enjoyed a successful season at club level in which she won her second UEFA Women’s Champions League title in addition to the Spanish league.
Oshoala joined up with the Nigerian national team for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and scored once as the side reached the Last 16 before crashing out on penalties against England.
She joins Kadidiatou Diani, Wendie Renard, Alba Redondo, Olga Carmona, Mapi Leon, Aitana Bonmati, Patri Guijarro, Salma Paralluelo, Rachel Daly, Georgia Stanway, Miller Bright and Mary Earps on the 30-player shortlist. Jill Roord, Daphne Van Domselaar, Yui Hasegawa, Hinata Miyazawa, Alexandra Popp, Lena Oberdorf, Sam Kerr and Hayley Raso are also on the shortlist. The list is completed by Amanda Ilestedt, Fridolina Rolfo, Guro Reiten, Linda Caicedo, Debinha, Sophia Smith, Khadija Shaw, Katie McCabe and Ewa Pajor
In the men’s circle, Super Eagles and Napoli star Osimhen was nominated for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award, becoming the first male Nigerian footballer to receive a nomination since 1999. The lanky striker propelled Napoli to a first league crown since 1990, scoring a good number of goals and winning the Capocannoniere.
The 24-year-old joins Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Julian Alvarez, Jude Bellingham, Nicolo Barella, Karim Benzema, Yassine Bono, Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias, Antoine Griezmann, Ilkay Gundogan, Josko Gvardiol and Harry Kane on the shortlist.
Randal Kolo Muani, Robert Lewandowski, Emiliano Martinez, Lautaro Martinez, Kim Min-Jae, Luka Modric, Jamal Musiala, Martin Odegaard, Andre Onana, Rodri, Bukayo Saka, Mohamed Salah, Bernardo Silva and Vinicius Junior.
The winner of the 2023 Ballon d’Or award will be announced in a ceremony in Paris on October 30th.