Lionel Messi has been left out of the top three shortlist for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann competing for the top spot.
Journalists from UEFA’s 55 member associations were asked for their own five choices as the best player in the continent last season.
The list which further narrowed down to three and Lionel Messi who took home the award last year was not even placed fourth but was bumped down to fifth, as his team-mate, Luis Suarez, took the fourth position.
Ronaldo is favourite for the award, having led Real Madrid to their 11th Champions League win in 2015-16, before being crowned European champion with Portugal after seeing off France in the final at Euro 2016.
Coming behind Cristiano Ronaldo, is his team mate, Bale, who also won the Champions League with Madrid, while inspiring Wales to the semi-finals at the European Championship.
Third on the list is Atletico Madrid’s Griezmann, who top scored at this summer’s European Championships.
Rounding out the long-list were Bayern Munich teammates, Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer, Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon and Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos and Pepe, who finished as top scorer at Euro 2016.
Here is the original 10-man shortlist:
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid & France)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
Thomas Müller (Bayern München & Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern München & Germany)
Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Luis Suárez (Barcelona & Uruguay)
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The winner will be announced on August 25, the day of the draw for the Champions League group stage. The UEFA Best Player in Europe Award is usually voted for by journalists from UEFA’s member nations.
Who do you think will win the award?