Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid CF's UEFA Super Cup match winner – and the FC Bayern München pair of Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben have been shortlisted for the 2013/14 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
The players gained the most points from a second poll of journalists from each of UEFA's 54 member associations, the three having been part of a ten-strong shortlist announced last month that was a product of a first round of voting by the same reporters. The overall winner will be decided by a live vote in Monaco on 28 August during the UEFA Champions League group stage draw.
Yet to receive the accolade since it was given for the first time in 2011, Ronaldo is among the final nominees for the fourth successive year. The Real Madrid forward enjoyed another stellar season last term, breaking the record for most goals in a single UEFA Champions League campaign. His 17th and last strike came from the penalty spot in the final against Club Atlético de Madrid, sealing the Whites' long-awaited tenth European title.
Germany No1 Neuer was ever-present during his country's FIFA World Cup triumph in Brazil, keeping four clean sheets in seven games and catching the eye with a willingness to leave his area to snuff out any danger behind the Mannschaft defence. Neuer, who also helped Bayern to the 2013/14 domestic double, was named German footballer of the year for a second time on 10 August. He is the first goalkeeper to make the final three.
Robben, meanwhile, was on target three times in the Netherlands' run to the last four of the World Cup, a total that included a double in the Oranje's 5-1 group stage defeat of Spain. At club level, only attackers Thomas Müller and Mario Mandžukić found the net more times for Bayern in all competitions than the 21-goal winger.
In Monaco the journalists will vote live, via an electronic system, for their best player from the shortlist. Positions four to ten are already fixed after every reporter provided a list of their top three players, with the first receiving three points, the second two points and the third one.
4 Thomas Müller (GER, FC Bayern München) – number of points, 39
5 Philipp Lahm (GER, FC Bayern München) – 24
5 Lionel Messi (ARG, FC Barcelona) – 24
7 James Rodríguez (COL, AS Monaco FC/Real Madrid CF) – 16
8 Luis Suárez (URU, Liverpool FC/FC Barcelona) – 13
9 Ángel Di María (ARG, Real Madrid CF) – 12
10 Diego Costa (ESP, Club Atlético de Madrid/Chelsea FC) – 8
This season marks the fourth edition of the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, which was born out of an initiative by UEFA President Michel Platini in partnership with the European Sports Media (ESM) group.
Franck Ribéry (2012/13)
Andrés Iniesta (2011/12)
Lionel Messi (2010/11)
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