Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah have made the final three for FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player of the Year award.
Ronaldo and Modric both helped Real Madrid to Champions League glory prior to the former’s move to Juventus, with Salah scoring an incredible 44 goals in all competitions for Liverpool.
That means that there’s no place in the final three for Barcelona sensation Lionel Messi, despite his exploits in helping the Catalan giants win the Liga title last season.
Modric won UEFA’s award for best player of the year last season, which drew condemnation from Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, for snubbing the top goalscorer in the Champions League .
Ronaldo’s move to Turin came after he eliminated Juventus from Europe with an empathic overhead kick, which also sees him nominated for FIFA’s Puskas award for the best goal of the season.
Croatia midfielder Modric earns his place in the final three nominations for his performances as the Balkan nation reached the final of the World Cup for the first time in their history.
The 32-year-old won the Golden Ball for the best player at Russia 2018 ahead of the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, who starred for winners France.
Mohamed Salah thrived for Liverpool as they reached the final of the Champions League, although a shoulder injury from a foul by Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos prevented him from having the ideal World Cup campaign with Egypt .
Ramos hit the headlines last week when he appeared to troll Salah by brushing his shoulder after accepting UEFA’s award for best defender in 2017-18.
FIFA’s The Best award is voted for by four groups, each with 25 per cent weight in the final vote: national team coaches, national team captains, high-profile journalists and football fans.
It broke away from the Ballon d’Or in 2016 and it will be the first time since 2006 that Messi has not been in the final three for FIFA’s award for best player of the season.
Ronaldo has been in the final three for every FIFA best player award except 2010, when it was a Barcelona one-two-three (Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta) for the first FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony.
In FIFA’s Best Coach category, France’s Didier Deschamps, Croatia’s Zlatko Dalic and former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane are the final three nominees.
The women’s best player award will be won by either Lyon’s Ada Hegerberg, Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan or Brazil’s Marta.