Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery have been shortlisted for 2012/2013 UEFA best player in Europe awards.
This award was initiated back in 2011 as Ballon d’Or was merged with FIFA World Player of The Year award and became FIFA Ballon d’Or. Lionel Messi won the inaugural awards for the 2010-11 season, while his Barcelona teammate Iniesta won it the last year. But Iniesta has failed to make it to the top 10 this time around as journalists from each of the UEFA’s European associates voted for the best European (club) footballers last season. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ribery have made it to the top three, but the rest of the top 10 contains some heavy weight names as well.
4th Robert Lewandowski (POL) – Borussia Dortmund (80 points)
5th Arjen Robben (NED) – FC Bayern München (55)
6th Thomas Müller (GER) – FC Bayern München (51)
7th Gareth Bale (WAL) – Tottenham Hotspur FC (48)
8th Bastian Schweinsteiger (GER) – FC Bayern München (34)
9th Zlatan Ibrahimović (SWE) – Paris Saint-Germain FC (27)
10th Robin van Persie (NED) – Manchester United FC (24)
The winner of this award will be decided when journalists will vote on 29th of August, on the eve of Champions League group stage draw.
Messi won his 6th La Liga title with Barcelona last season, a campaign which saw him score 46 goals in the league – his performances also meant that he won his fifth successive Ballon d’Or. The Argentine international is perhaps once again the favorite to land this honour, although Ribery and Ronaldo are strong contenders in their own rights.
Real Madrid might have endured a disappointing season domestically and in Europe, failing to win any silverware, but Ronaldo was once again at his imperial best, scoring 34 league goals for the club. He finished with a total of 55 goals in all competitions, including 12 goals in the Champions League itself. Franck Ribery on the other hand has won it all last season – and based on trophies, the Frenchman has had a more successful season than both Messi and Ronaldo.
Bayern Munich dominated the domestic league, won the DFB-Pokal and lifted their fifth Champions League title – and Franck Ribery was arguably the most influential player in that superlative campaign. He amassed an amazing 10 goals and 14 assists in 27 league appearances, along with some amazing performances in the cup competitions as well.
The final voting for this award will be held at Monaco, the venue for the 2013/2014 Champions League draw.