The UEFA announced their three-man shortlist for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award, with new Juventus boy Cristiano Ronaldo, Liverpool star Luka Modric and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric set to compete for the accolade. Surprisingly, Barcelona skipper and two-time winner Lionel Messi failed to make the shortlist, despite enjoying another successful season with his club.
After the top-three, Antoine Griezmann was confirmed for fourth place, with Messi only finishing fifth and Paris Saint-Germain wonder-boy Kylian Mbappe finishing sixth. Kevin de Bruyne, Raphael Varane, Eden Hazard and Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos rounded off the top-10.
Ronaldo is the frontrunner to win the award, having led his previous club Real to their third consecutive UEFA Champions League title. He scored an astonishing 15 goals in 13 matches in the competition. Further, the Portugese scored 26 goals in 27 appearances in La Liga.
He will receive tough competition from Salah, who helped Liverpool reach the final of UEFA Champions League and finish fourth in the Premier League. The Egyptian enjoyed a stellar first season with the English club, scoring 44 goals in all competitions, which included 11 goals in the Champions League.
Then there is Modric, who was the hearbeat behind Real's road towards their third consecutive Champions League title. The midfielder produced endless brilliant displays, and was one of the best players in the tournament, including in the final against Liverpool.
The award will be given out on August 30, when the group stage draw of UEFA Champions League 2018/19 will take place. Ronaldo is the reigning UEFA Men's Player of the Year, and has won the award in the past two years.
The UEFA Men's Player of the Year was conceptualized in 2017, with Ronaldo winning the inaugural award. Prior to that, there was UEFA Best Player in Europe award, which started in 2011.
Messi was the winner of the inaugural award, and he repeated the feat once again in 2015. Ronaldo has won the award most number of times (3). The other two individuals other than Messi and Ronaldo to win the award are Andres Iniesta in 2012 and Frank Ribery in 2013.