When Alphonso Davies won the Lou Marsh Award in 2020, jointly accepting the honor of Canadian Athlete of the Year with then-Kansas City Chiefs point guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the Bayern Munich player was the only Canadian male soccer player to participated in voting committee discussions.
That is unlikely to be the case next Wednesday, when members of the Canadian sports media decide who will take home this year’s award.
Davies, 21, will continue to be the headliner when it comes to Lou Marsh’s candidacy for the Canadian men’s team. But you will not be alone.
- There’s forward Cyle Larin, who scored twice against Mexico in Canada’s monumental win over the region’s historic elite in Edmonton last month. That tied him with Dwayne DeRosario at the top of the Canadian men’s career goal list with 22 goals, and Larin took 37 fewer games to reach the milestone. The 26-year-old is also challenging the world elite in terms of production in qualifying for the World Cup, with his 11 goals behind only Ali Mabkhout (14) of the United Arab Emirates, Harry Kane (12) of England. and Memphis Depay of the Netherlands (12).
The Brampton native’s club team, Besiktas JK, also claimed the Turkish Super Lig crown and the Turkish Cup, with Larin leading the team with 23 goals in all competitions between 2020 and 2021.
- There’s forward Jonathan David, 21, who has become an elite striker in Europe this season. His club’s team, Lille, won France’s Ligue 1 this year. David has 21 goals in 35 league games and leads the league with 10 this season. The speed at which David is driving the ball into the back of the net for the club and the country makes those around the Ottawa-raised forward wonder what’s next for a player who is quickly making himself known abroad. .
- One player who has been an elite for a long time, and who has been overlooked in Lou Marsh’s conversation over the years, is Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan. Borjan, Canada’s most capped player as of last month, has played in Europe since 2009 and has supported the national team since 2011. But this is not a mention based solely on the 34-year-old’s legacy. Borjan was alongside Larin at the club level, captaining Besiktas in their Turkish Super Lig and Turkish Cup victories in 2021. He has been the heart of the Canadian team throughout their World Cup qualification campaign in course, leading team conversations off the field and stopping shots. in that.
Still, Davies, one of the most exciting emerging players in the world, will lead the conversation.
He is valued at 180 million euros, or 260 million dollars, in a study conducted by the Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory, making him the most valuable player born after 2020 in Europe’s top five leagues. He won the German Bundesliga, the German Super Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup with Bayern Munich in 2021.
And his national team, Canada, is on track to clinch first place in the World Cup since 1986. Some in Canadian soccer circles would argue that Davies’ individual effort against Panama at BMO Field in October was a world-class goal. Watching him steal a ball from a Panamanian defender despite starting his career dozens of yards away was an impressive enough moment for Davies to win the award on his own.
But he will have competition, after an exceptional year for the men’s team, which he hopes to secure his place in Qatar 2022 next March.
Lou Marsh’s roster of contenders should reflect that emergence.
This is the second in the series to take a look at this year’s Lou Marsh contenders:
Part 1: Leylah Fernández took advantage of the opportunity at the US Open
Today: Men’s soccer stars take center stage
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