Ronaldo, Modric, Salah on UEFA best player award shortlist

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 21, 2018 09:21 AM
Ronaldo, Modric, Salah on UEFA best player award shortlist
FILE - Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo runs with the ball during the Serie A soccer match between Chievo Verona and Juventus, at the Bentegodi Stadium in Verona, Italy, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — The UEFA award for the best Europe-based player last season won't be won by a World Cup champion from France.

Instead, three-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo was joined Monday by former Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah on a shortlist selected by Champions League coaches and invited journalists across Europe.

Three France players were in the top 10: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid was fourth, Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain was sixth and Raphael Varane of Real Madrid was eighth.

The award typically rewards Champions League performances — with all three on the shortlist having played in the final in May — but voters can take the World Cup into account. Coaches could not vote for players on their own team.

"Players are judged on their performances in all competitions — domestic, continental and international," UEFA said in a statement.

The winner will be announced on Aug. 30 in Monaco at the draw for the group stage of the Champions League.

At the World Cup in Russia, Griezmann won the Bronze Ball as the third-best player at the tournament, selected by a FIFA expert panel, plus the Silver Boot for second place in the scoring table. Mbappe was named best young player in Russia.

Modric won the Golden Ball for captaining Croatia to the final, where his team lost to France.

Ronaldo, now with Juventus, has won the UEFA award each time Madrid has been European champion since the vote was introduced in 2011.

Lionel Messi also won twice, after Barcelona's Champions League titles in 2011 and 2015. Messi was fifth in this year's voting, UEFA said Monday.

The vote does not always reward a Champions League winner. In 2012, Andres Iniesta won the prize weeks after helping Spain to a second straight European title although Barcelona was eliminated in the Champions League semifinals.

UEFA will also name the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward in Monaco next week. Ronaldo and Salah are on the forwards shortlist with Messi, and Modric is joined by Kevin De Bruyne and Toni Kroos on the midfielders list.

Varane is on an all-Madrid defenders list with Marcelo and Sergio Ramos, and the goalkeeper candidates are Alisson, Gianluigi Buffon and Keylor Navas.

Griezmann is on a three-player list to be named the best Europa League player last season, after scoring twice in Atletico's 3-0 win over Marseille in the final. He is joined by Atletico teammate Diego Godin and Dimitri Payet of Marseille. The award will be presented on Aug. 31 at the draw for the group stage of the Europa League.

UEFA will also announce the women's player of the year from a shortlist of Pernille Harder (Denmark and Wolfsburg), Ada Hegerberg (Norway and Lyon), and Amandine Henry (France and Lyon).

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