It’s that time of the year again where the best players of the past season are recognised in the UEFA Best Player Award ceremony, and unsurprisingly, two of the greatest players of the modern game, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been shortlisted.
Messi and Ronaldo are in the running for the best attacker category alongside new kid on the block, Juventus forward Antoine Griezmann.
Griezmann, 23, emerged as one of the star players of the past season, guiding the Bianconerri to the Champions League final where they eventually fell to a Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid on that memorable night in Cardiff.
While he and compatriot Messi both stood out last campaign, it’s going to be a tough task deposing Ronaldo from the throne.
Madrid dominate 12-man shortlist
The midfield category is dominated by Real Madrid after their Champions League and La Liga exploits last season, with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro battling for the top honour.
It’s a similar scenario in defence where Real’s talismanic captain Sergio Ramos has been nominated for the best defender alongside teammate Marcelo and former Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci, who completed a shock switch to AC Milan.
The award for best goalkeeper sees Juve and Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon up against Bayern Munich safe hands Manuel Neuer and Atletico Madrid rising star Jan Oblak.
These awards complement the UEFA Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year prizes, with the finalists set to be announced on 15 August ahead of the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on 24 August.
Ronaldo is heavy favourite to take home a record third gong after guiding Los Blancos to a second successive Champions League crown last season.