The two Belgian will face stiff competition though. Also on the list are Barcelona Argentine star Lionel Messi, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and the young French international Kylian Mbappé.
The ten players on FIFA’s long list were chosen based on their performances between 3 July 2017 and the end of the World Cup on 15 July.
The list has been drawn up by a panel made up of the football legends Fabio Capello, Didier Drogba, Kaka, Lothar Matthäus, Alessandro Nesta and Ronaldo. As well as performing strongly in Russia, the two Belgians both had good seasons with their respective clubs. Kevin De Bruyne made a significant contribution to Manchester City’s campaign to become champions in the English Premier League and in them winning the English League Cup. Meanwhile, Eden Hazard won the English F.A. Cup with Chelsea. In addition to Mbappé two other French players, Antoine Griezmann and Raphaël Varane are on the longlist. England’s Harry Kane, Croatia’s Luka Modric and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah also appear on the list.
Meanwhile, the Belgian national team coach Roberto Martinez has been nominated for prize for best Coach. The winner will be announced at a gala event to be held in London on 24 September.