Buffon, Messi and Ronaldo on UEFA Player of the Year shortlist

AFP
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gianluigi Buffon have been nominated for the UEFA's Player of the Year award, the sport's European governing body said on Tuesday.
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Real Madrid's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo is once again on the UEFA Player of the Year Award shortlist.

Veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has been named as one of three nominees for the 2016/17 UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, European football's governing body announced on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old Buffon was a key member of the Juventus side that reached last season's UEFA Champions League final, but he missed out on a first winner's medal as the Italians were beaten 1-4 by Ronaldo's Real Madrid in Cardiff, Wales.

The shortlist was decided by the 80 coaches of the clubs that played in the UCL and Europa League group stages, as well as 55 journalists.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi has won the award twice, as has Portuguese forward Ronaldo.

Since its inception in 2011, unlike other similar individual awards, the UEFA accolade has not been totally dominated by Ronaldo and Messi.

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta won the honor in 2012, followed by French winger Franck Ribery a year later.

Real, which has lifted the European Cup in three of the past four seasons, had four players in the top 10, with Luka Modric fourth, Toni Kroos fifth and Sergio Ramos seventh.

Argentinian forward Paulo Dybala (sixth) joined his Juventus teammate Buffon in being named, while Monaco's rising teenage star Kylian Mbappe, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and former Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic rounded out the top 10.

Luis Suarez, who scored 37 goals for Barcelona in all competitions last season, missed out, as did his former teammate Neymar, who has since joined Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record 222-million euro (US$260.9 million) move.

VfL Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder, Olympique Lyon midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan and Barcelona winger Lieke Martens were shortlisted for the UEFA's women's Player of the Year Award, Reuters reported.

Martens was named the Women's Euro 2017 player of the tournament earlier this month after helping Netherlands to their first senior female continental title.

The awards will be presented at this season's UCL group stage draw in Monaco on August 24.

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