Real Madrid has dominated the European competition for the past few seasons and this year’s UEFA Best Player of the Year Awards is nothing different from that. Midfielder Luka Modric and his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo have made it to the final three of this year’s award. Liverpool’s Mo Salah completes the top three after his exceptional debut season for the Reds.
OFFICIAL: The shortlist for UEFA Men’s Player of the Year:
🇪🇬 Mohamed Salah
🇭🇷 Luka Modric
🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo
The award will be presented at the ceremony on August 30th in Monaco. pic.twitter.com/5XICCGiCmQ
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As declared by UEFA, Modric, Ronaldo, and Salah received the most votes for the award despite some serious competition from rest of the top 10 players. Antoine Griezmann came close with fourth most votes and Leo Messi’s absence was a huge shock with the Argentine being only fifth in the standings.
Modric had an exceptional year both with Real Madrid and Croatia. The midfielder won the UEFA Champions League with Los Blancos where he was an influential figure in the middle of the park. But his performances in Russia were the talk of the town as he led Croatia to first ever World Cup final. Modric also won the Golden Ball at the World Cup for the best player of the competition.
Ronaldo continued to dominate the Champions League for yet another year with 15 goals in the competition. The Portuguese won his record fifth UCL before moving to Juventus. He also scored four goals in Russia including a hat-trick against Spain. The 33-year old has already won the award for a record three times and will look to go two ahead of his arch-rival Leo Messi, come August 30th.
Despite missing out on a title, Mo Salah’s season was nothing less than extraordinary as the Egyptian broke a flurry of records with the Reds. He scored 32 goals in EPL – Most by any player in a 38-game tournament. Salah’s 10 goals in the Champions League were also crucial in Liverpool reaching the final of the competition, only to finish as the runner-ups. The Egyptian Messi, as he is famously called, finished 2017-18 with 44 goals in all competitions.
Surprisingly, the list does not include anyone from France’s World Cup winning squad. The likes of Griezmann, Mbappe, and Varane made it to the top 10 but will miss out on the podium. The winner will be declared on 30th August in Monaco.
While there can be no complaints about the top three players nominated for the award, the absence of a World Cup winner raises a few questions. Just like 2010 and 2014, the focus has looked to have shifted from international football to the club football.