Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo did not make the final shortlist for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award for the first time in 10 years. Kevin De Bruyne, Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski are the three set to battle it out for the individual prize.
Juventus star Ronaldo has won the award three times, making the final shortlist on nine occasions, while Barcelona’s Messi has won it twice and made the final shortlist six times in the last 10 seasons.
The superstars have stood out as the best players of their generation over the last ten years.
Juventus were knocked out of the Champions League at round of 16 last season after a shocking defeat to Lyon, while Barca were humilated in the quarter finals by eventual winners Bayern.
Lewandowski finished as the competition’s top scorer with 15 goals, while Ronaldo and Messi could only manage three goals each in same number of matches (8).
The Bayern striker is now on course to win the award alongside Manchester City’s De Bruyne and Bayern team-mate Manuel Neuer.
Virgil van Dijk who won the award in 2019 after helping Liverpool win the European Cup for the sixth time in their history was not nominated as a result of Liverpool exiting the competiotion in the first knockout phase.
Final announcement would be made at the 2020-21 Champions League group stage draw ceremony on October 1, and De Bruyne could become the second Premier League player to win the award in as many years.
UEFA also announced the top three for the Women’s Player of the Year award and Men’s Coach of the Year, with Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder and Wendie Renard shortlisted for the women’s award, and Jurgen Klopp, Hansi Flick and Julian Nagelsmann on the Coach of the Year shortlist.
In the meantime, Lluis Cortes, Stephan Lurch and Jean-Luc Vasseur made the final shortlist for the Women’s Coach of the Year, with the managerial awards set to be presented for the first time in the history of the competition.