UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award: Messi and Ronaldo missing from final shortlist for the first time in a decade

The football governing body in Europe has released its shortlist of nominees for 2020 and two notable exemptions for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The duo have been by far the most dominant athletes over the last 15 years and it comes as no surprise that they have also dominated the individual awards in this time, with Messi and Ronaldo sharing 11 Ballon d’Or awards between themselves.

Luka Modric broke their 10-year run of winning the Ballon d’Or when he was named the best player in the world in 2018 but it was back to the status quo a year later, with Messi winning his sixth Ballon d’Or award ahead of Virgil Van Dijk.

However, it is not only the Ballon d’Or that has been dominated by the iconic pair, as they have also been ever-presents in the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award.

Since the award’s creation in 2011, one of either Messi or Ronaldo has always been present on the final nominees list for the award, with the Portuguese currently the record-winner of the accolade with three wins to his name.

UEFA Men's Player of the Year award
Kevin de Bruyne is on the nominees list for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award

Messi and Ronaldo missing from final shortlist for UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award

However, this year, neither man was named on the final list, with Bayern Munich duo Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer included for their starring role in helping the Bavarians to the treble and the pair are joined by Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne.

Although the current PFA Player of the Year exited the competition at the quarterfinal stage, he still made a mark on the competition, with his dominant roles coming in the second-round elimination of Real Madrid, while he also scored a stunning goal in the quarterfinal against Lyon.

Manuel Neuer was back to his dominant best between the sticks and captained Bayern Munich to her sixth Champions League crown, making some spectacular saves along the way.

Robert Lewandowski was by far the best player in all of Europe last season and scored 55 goals from 47 matches in all competitions, with 15 of those coming in the Champions League.

The Poland international was undoubtedly the favorite to claim the 2020 Ballon d’Or but the decision to cancel the award due to the coronavirus pandmic has robbed him off the chance to make history.

UEFA Men's Player of the Year award
Robert Lewadowski is the favorite for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award

This would mark the first time that neither Ronaldo nor Messi are present on the final shortlist for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award and it is hardly surprising considering events of last season.

Lionel Messi was on the field as Barcelona got decimated by Bayern Munich in the quarterfinal, with the 8-2 defeat marking the lowest point in the club’s history and prompting several incidents including his decision to leave the club for free.

He ended last season with just three goals and four assists from eight matches in the Champions League, which marked his lowest return in the competition since 2007.

Ronaldo, for his part, scored four goals and had one assist from eight games in the Champions League, which was rather poor considering his usual superhuman standards on the continent.

He got eliminated in the round-of-16 stage for the first time since 2010 and although he scored both goals in the second leg against Lyon, this was not enough to overturn their deficit and the Ligue 1 side qualified at the expense of the Turin giants.

Fans have been wondering what the future of football would like like post-Messi and Ronaldo and this may yet be the strongest indicator that their era of dominance is slowly coming to an end.

Ume Elvis

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Ardent football fan and one of the best footie writers you'll find anywhere on the net.


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