Ronaldo & Messi make FIFA player of the year shortlist… but no room for Neymar
FIFA announced the list on Tuesday for the coveted FIFA Best Male Player accolade, with two-time winner Ronaldo making the cut along with Barcelona star Messi.
Also on the list was French teen sensation Kylian Mbappe, along with fellow World Cup winners Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane. Croatia’s World Cup Golden Ball winner Luka Modric was also named, as was England’s Golden Boot winner Harry Kane.
Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne was also nominated along with countryman Eden Hazard, while Egypt striker Mohamed Salah was included on the back of last season’s record-breaking goalscoring exploits for club team Liverpool.
Perhaps the most conspicuous absentee was the world’s most expensive player, Neymar, who finished third on the FIFA list last season.
The Paris Saint-Germain star suffered an injury-hit season, missing several months toward the end of the campaign after a foot problem, and also failed to hit the heights during the World Cup in Russia, where Brazil crashed out to Belgium in the quarter-final.
While Neymar demonstrated flashes of his talent during the World Cup, he was also widely criticized for his theatrical responses to tackles.
Argentina star Messi also had a disappointing World Cup, finding the net just once as Argentina bowed out at the hands of France in the last 16. Messi still ended the domestic season in Spain as the league’s top scorer, bagging 34 goals as Barcelona romped to the title.
Ronaldo enjoyed a better World Cup in personal terms, scoring four goals, although his Portugal team also departed at the last 16 stage. He enjoyed club success with Real Madrid, helping the team to a third successive Champions League title in May.
The number 7 left the Spanish giants in the summer after nine years at the club, joining Italian champions Juventus in a deal worth €100 million (US$117 million).
He claimed the FIFA Best Men’s Player Award in the past two years, with the accolade being handed out since 2016.
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has been included among the nominees for the male coach of the year award, with the winners in all categories being announced in London on September 24.