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Golden Foot 2022: Benzema, Lewandowski, Messi... and Wu Lei

The Chinese attacker, testimonial last season with Espanyol, is paradoxically among the candidates for the best world footballer over 28 years of age.

Wu Lei - Espanyol

Wu Lei is not going through the best moment of his career, after little more than a testimonial season under the command of Vicente Moreno, the former Espanyol coach, and now with some physical issues preventing him from gaining the favor of Diego Martínez, the new occupant of the bench, meaning he’s not even been able to join the tour in Marbella. However, and as paradoxical as it may seem, the award nominations continue to accumulate.

Who’s in the running for Golden Foot 2022?

Liverpool and Egypt superstar, Mohamed Salah is the current holder of the Golden Foot title, but the reigning winner of the Chinese Ballon d’Or - which he has won in three of the four editions since its creation - has now been included in an impressive list of world stars.

The candidates for the Golden Foot award, ‘an international football award given to players who stand out for their athletic achievements (both as individuals and team players) and for their personality’, is ultimately decided by fans, in a vote through the official website, have been awarded since 2003 and only includes players over 28 years old. Wu Lei has been selected on a list that includes the best in the game, from Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski, through Lionel Messi, Kevin de Bruyne, Neymar and recent Champions League Final MVP, Thibaut Courtois. Other stars you may have expected to see, such as Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo or Luka Modric, do not, as they were already winners, respectively, in the three previous editions, and you can’t double up. Thems the rules.

Candidates for the Golden Foot 2022

Gareth Bale
Karim Benzema
Leonardo Bonucci
Giorgio Chiellini
Thibaut Courtois
Philippe Coutinho
Juan Guillermo Cuadrado
Kevin de Bruyne< br />David de Gea
Paulo Dybala
Memphis Depay
Edin Dzeko
Cesc Fàbregas
Roberto Firmino
Olivier Giroud
Mauro Icardi
Ciro Immobile
Junya Ito
Shinji Kagawa
Harry Kane
N’Golo Kanté
Kalidou Koulibaly
Chung- Yong Lee
Robert Lewandowski
Riyad Mahrez
Sadio Mané
Juan Mata
Edouard Mendy
Lionel Messi
Á lvaro Morata
Thomas Müller
Keylor Navas
Manuel Neuer
Neymar Jr.
Ivan Perisic
Paul Pogba
Sergio Ramos
Heung-Min Son
Thiago Silva
Luis Suárez
Patrick Van Aanholt
Virgil Van Dijk
Raphaël Varane
Marco Verratti
Wu Lei
Andriy Yarmolenko
Burak Yilmaz

Wu Lei started just six times throughout the 2021/22 season with Espanyol, between LaLiga and the Copa del Rey, playing 640 minutes in total, scoring two goals and providing one assist. More decisive was his role with the Chinese team, although he was unable to help them qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. At 30 years old, he has a season and a half left on his contract. And may still have an award or two to collect.