Van Dijk, Messi, Ronaldo, lead UEFA player of the year nominations

Virgil van Dijk, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have all made the three-man shortlist for the UEFA Player of the Year award.

Messi led Barcelona to another Primera Division title and was the European Golden Shoe winner, while also top scoring in the Champions League for the semi-finalists.

Ronaldo meanwhile, won Serie A in his first season since moving to Juventus from Real Madridand also added to his growing international medal collection with Portugal in the UEFA Nations League, top scoring in the finals for the inaugural edition of the competition.

Van Dijk was a Champions League winner with Liverpool and also was successful on the international scene, as his Netherlands side reached the Nations League final, only to be beaten by Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Three Liverpool players, Alisson Becker, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, occupy the three positions outside the top three.

Eden Hazard, who moved to Real Madrid from Chelsea in the summer, is seventh, with two stars of Ajax‘s Champions League semi-final run, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, joint eighth. Both made big money moves, to Ajax and Barcelona respectively, in the off-season.

Raheem Sterling, the star of Manchester City‘s Premier League triumph, completes the top 10.

For the other awards, Alisson, Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) and Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), are nominated for the goalkeeper of the year crown.

Van Dijk will be up against Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold and De Ligt for Defender of the Year. Another Liverpool star, Jordan Henderson is up for midfielder alongside De Jong and Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, while Mane, Messi and Ronaldo are the three nominees for Forward of the Year.

Lucy Bronze, Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry are the three players in line for the Women’s Player of the Year gong, while the Europa League Player of the Season shortlist is Hazard, Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) and Luka Jovic


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