Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo are the three nominees for the 2014/15 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
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Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo are the three nominees for the 2014/15 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. The winner will be announced on 27 August.
As in previous years, journalists from each of UEFA's 54 member associations provided a list of their five best-ranked players, with the first receiving five points, the second four, and so on. The ten players with the most points advanced to the second vote, which has determined the three finalists named today.
The jury will then cast their votes for the outright winner during the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday 27 August. Past editions have been won by Lionel Messi (2011), Andrés Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribéry (2013) and Ronaldo (2014).
The nominees, in alphabetical order, are:
Lionel Messi (Argentina – Barcelona)
• Broke Telmo Zarra's record of 251 Liga goals with a hat-trick against Sevilla on 22 November; finished Barcelona's treble-winning term with 58 strikes in all competitions, including a double in the Blaugrana's Copa del Rey final victory against Athletic Club.
• Ended the UEFA Champions League campaign as the ten-goal joint-top scorer along with Ronaldo and club-mate Neymar. Level with Ronaldo on 77 UEFA Champions League goals and ended the campaign with 78 in UEFA club competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal – Real Madrid)
• The leading marksman in the Spanish Liga (48 goals) and the joint-top UEFA Champions League scorer. His output of 61 on all fronts for Madrid was a career-best from a season in which he leapfrogged Alfredo Di Stéfano into second place on the club's all-time list.
• Notched five in a match for the first time as the Whites defeated Granada 9-1 on 5 April. Finished the campaign with three successive hat-tricks – against Espanyol, Getafe and Armenia.
Luis Suárez (Uruguay – Barcelona)
• On target twice in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg against Manchester City, his first return to England since leaving Liverpool.
• Formed a devastating three-pronged strike force with Neymar and Messi which yielded 122 goals in all competitions, the Uruguayan restoring Barça's lead in the UEFA Champions League final before ending the competition with seven efforts.
4 Gianluigi Buffon (Italy – Juventus) 24 points
5 Neymar (Brazil – Barcelona) 23
6 Eden Hazard (Belgium – Chelsea) 21
7 Andrea Pirlo (Italy – Juventus) 12
8 Arturo Vidal (Chile – Juventus, now Bayern München) 11
9 Carlos Tévez (Argentina – Juventus, now Boca Juniors) 8
10 Paul Pogba (France – Juventus) 5
In total, 35 players received votes in the initial poll: here are those who did not make the ten-man shortlist:
11 Arjen Robben (NED – Bayern München)
12 Manuel Neuer ( GER – Bayern München)
13 Carlos Bacca (COL – Sevilla, now AC Milan)
14= Andrés Iniesta (ESP – Barcelona)
14= Álvaro Morata (ESP – Juventus)
14= Thomas Müller (GER – Bayern München)
17 Kevin De Bruyne (BEL – Wolfsburg)
18 Zlatan Ibrahimović (SWE – Paris Saint-Germain)
19= Gareth Bale (WAL – Real Madrid)
19= André-Pierre Gignac (FRA – Olympique Marseille, now Tigres UNAL)
21= Robert Lewandowski (POL – Bayern München)
21= Ivan Rakitić (CRO – Barcelona)
23= Jérôme Boateng (GER – Bayern München)
23= Xavi Hernández (ESP – Barcelona, now al-Sadd SC)
23= Jackson Martínez (COL – FC Porto, now Atlético Madrid)
23= Javier Mascherano (ARG – Barcelona)
23= Alexis Sánchez (CHI – Arsenal)
28= Giorgio Chiellini (ITA – Juventus)
28= Roberto Firmino (BRA – TSG Hoffenheim, now Liverpool)
28= Nemanja Matić (SRB – Chelsea)
28= Arkadiusz Milik (POL – Ajax)
28= Nicolás Otamendi (ARG – Valencia)
28= Sergio Ramos (ESP – Real Madrid)
28= Marc-André ter Stegen (GER – Barcelona)
28= Arda Turan (TUR – Atlético Madrid, now Barcelona)