UEFA’s Best Player shortlist were released today. Lionel Messi misses out, and Ronaldo, Salah and Modric make the cut.
UEFA’s group stage draw and award ceremony is just ten days away now. With Europe’s elite club competition set to get underway in the month of September, all the accolades of last season will be distributed in Monaco on the 30th of August. Meanwhile, the participating teams will also come to know about their group’s opponents.
Real Madrid enter this year’s competition as the defending champions for a third year running. On Monday, UEFA announced its three contenders for the Best Player Award. Mohammed Salah of Liverpool and Egypt will join Real Madrid stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric on the podium next week.
While Cristiano Ronaldo is now at Juventus following his lucrative transfer in the summer, it is quite clear that his performances with the Whites have led him to being a top favourite for this award.
The Portugal captain scored 44 goals in as many appearances for his former club including 15 goals in the UEFA Champions League. Ronaldo also stood out in the World Cup with four goals that consisted of a hat-trick against Spain and game winning header against Morocco.
Egypt’s Mohammed Salah’s inclusion comes no surprise in this list. The Premier League’s Golden Boot winner endured a top season in his first year with Liverpool. The 26 year old was on target 44 times last year over 52 appearances in all competitions. His ten goals and five assists in the Champions League were instrumental for Liverpool as the Reds finished second behind Real Madrid.
Croatia’s Luka Modric is also included in the list and his inclusion is as deserved as anyone else on the list. The 32 year old captained his country to the FIFA World Cup’s Final and won the Golden Ball awarded to the competition’s best player. Modric also won the UEFA Champions League with Los Blancos and was one of their best midfielders during the competition. While his statistics are not eye catching, his gameplay and support to the team certainly is.
The big omission in this list is Lionel Messi. The Barcelona captain won the Golden Boot having scored 34 times in La Liga, but under par displays in the Champions League and World Cup were responsible for his exclusion from the list.
Roma kicked out Barcelona against all odds in the continental competition while France knocked Argentina out of the World Cup in the round of 16.
Who do you think wins the prestigious award? Does Cristiano Ronaldo get his unprecedented fourth or will one of Luka or Mo claim it? Leave your predictions in the comments below!