Messi, Haaland make shortlist for UEFA’s best player award

The three-man shortlist also includes Kevin De Bruyne; Pep Guardiola is favourite for the men’s coaching award.

PSG's Lionel Messi kicks the ball during the French League One soccer match between Strasbourg and Paris Saint Germain at Stade de la Meinau stadium in Strasbourg, eastern France
Lionel Messi, Argentina's 2022 World Cup-winning captain, won the UEFA award twice in its 12-year history [Jean-Francois Badias/AP Photo]

Manchester City’s treble winners Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne have made the shortlist for the UEFA best player award along with Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

Haaland was an instant hit at Manchester City last season with 52 goals, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League together with De Bruyne.

Messi, Argentina’s 2022 World Cup-winning captain, won the UEFA award twice in its 12-year history, both in years when Barcelona were European champions.

Pep Guardiola is the favourite for the men’s coaching award after leading City to the treble.

Also nominated for the coach award were Simone Inzaghi of Inter Milan, who led his team to the Champions League final, and Luciano Spalletti, who led Napoli to the Italian league title.

The winners will be announced at the Champions League draw on August 31 in Monaco.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) said that the shortlists for the women’s player and coaching awards will be announced next week, after Sunday’s World Cup final between England and Spain in Sydney.

Mbappe misses out

France superstar Kylian Mbappe, Messi’s former teammate at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), was sixth in the player voting by Europe-based coaches and journalists despite his tournament-leading eight goals at last year’s World Cup, including three in the final against Argentina.

Golden Boot
Mbappe looks dejected after receiving the Golden Boot award [Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters]

Ranked above Mbappe were City midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri, whose goal decided the Champions League final.

The only Inter player getting votes was Marcelo Brozovic in eighth place. The Croatia midfielder has since moved to the Saudi league.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, others who have moved to Saudi Arabia, got no votes from the UEFA panel, which included coaches from clubs that played in the group stages of the three European competitions.

Source: News Agencies