BUFFON, MESSI & RONALDO MAKE UEFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR SHORTLIST
By prince Henry
The Real Madrid star won the prize last year and faces competition from his Barcelona adversary, with Juventus goalkeeper Buffon also nominated
Gianluigi Buffon, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been named on the shortlist for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award.
The prize, formerly called the Best Player in Europe Award, was won by Real Madrid star Ronaldo last year and has twice been given to Barcelona forward Messi.
Andres Iniesta and Franck Ribery are the only other players to have lifted the trophy.
The prize recognises the best players, regardless of nationality, playing for clubs in UEFA territories and is judged on their performances in domestic, continental and international competition.
“The shortlist of three players was selected by a jury comprising the 80 coaches of the clubs which participated in the group stage of the 2016-17 Champions League and Europa League, along with 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, representing each of UEFA’s member associations,” according to UEFA’s guidelines. Coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own teams.
Ronaldo fired Madrid to a league and Champions League double last season, as well as the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup, while Messi won the Copa del Rey with Barca and finished as top scorer in La Liga.
Buffon won a Serie A and Coppa Italia double for the third time in three years and reached the final of the Champions League with Juventus, where they lost 4-1 to Madrid.
Luka Modric came fourth in the voting, ahead of Madrid team-mate Toni Kroos and Juve star Paulo Dybala.
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was seventh, Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe eighth and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski ninth. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who left Manchester United at the end of his contract, completes the top 10.