August 5 – He might be the most expensive player of all time, but €222 million Brazilian money machine Neymar does not even make it to the UEFA shortlist of best players for their 2016/17 club competition awards. His former club colleague Lionel Messi does make it.
What is perhaps even more stunning is that when looking at the longer list of players who received votes, Neymar was only sixth on the list of forwards with less than half the voting points of Kylian Mbappé (Monaco) in fourth, and behind Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski. He was however ahead of Atlético Madrid’s Antoine Greizmann.
The UEFA awards will crown the best Goalkeeper, Defender, Midfielder and Forward of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season. The jury was comprised of the coaches of the 32 clubs that played in the Champions League, together with 55 journalists – coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Real Madrid players dominate the shortlist with six nominees, three players are nominated from Juventus while Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have one nominee each.
The awards will be presented during the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage draw on August 24 in Monaco at the same time as the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League Player of the Season award. The three-player shortlist for this award all come from Manchester United.
The three players who received the most points overall in each positional category for the Champions League awards are:
GOALKEEPERS: Gianluigi Buffon (ITA – Juventus FC); Manuel Neuer (GER – FC Bayern München); Jan Oblak (SVN – Club Atlético de Madrid)
DEFENDERS: Leonardo Bonucci (ITA – Juventus FC, now at AC Milan); Marcelo (BRA – Real Madrid CF); Sergio Ramos (ESP – Real Madrid CF)
MIDFIELDERS: Casemiro (BRA – Real Madrid CF); Toni Kroos (GER – Real Madrid CF);Luka Modrić (CRO – Real Madrid CF)
FORWARDS: Paulo Dybala (ARG – Juventus FC); Lionel Messi (ARG – FC Barcelona);Cristiano Ronaldo (POR – Real Madrid CF)
The three players who received the most points overall in the nominees for the Europa League award are:
PLAYERS: Zlatan Ibrahimović (SWE – Manchester United FC); Henrikh Mkhitaryan (ARM – Manchester United FC); Paul Pogba (FRA – Manchester United FC)