LONDON: Lionel Messi failed to make The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award shortlist on Monday for the first time since 2006, with Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah making their first appearance in the final three alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi and Ronaldo have been the only winners of world football’s main individual award from FIFA since 2008.
Ronaldo, who like Messi is a five-time winner of the award and has won it for the last two years, helped Real Madrid claim a third consecutive Champions League crown before securing a transfer to Italian champions Juventus in July.
Midfielder Modric, also part of Real’s Champions League triumph, finished runner-up with Croatia at the World Cup, winning the best player award at the tournament in Russia.
Egyptian forward Salah scored 44 goals for Liverpool last season, helping the English club reach the Champions League final where they were beaten by Real. Salah was injured in the final but was recognised for his Premier League record 32 goals for Liverpool.
France’s World Cup winning captain Hugo Lloris is in contention for the goalkeeper of the year award, alongside Golden Glove winner Thibaut Courtois and Danish shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel.
France’s World Cup-winning manager Didier Deschamps, Zlatko Dalic and Zinedine Zidane were nominated as the finalists for FIFA’s coach of the year award.
Deschamps became just the third man to win the World Cup as a player and coach with victory over Dalic’s Croatia in Russia while Zidane led Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League win in May before stepping down.
The women’s player of the year award will be contested between Olympique Lyonnais duo Ada Hegerberg of Norway and Dzsenifer Marozsan of Germany, who enjoyed an unbeaten league season and lifted the Women’s Champions League, and Brazil’s triumphant Copa America Femenina captain Marta.
The three coaches in contention for the women’s game award are: Asako Takakura, who led Japan to the Asian Games title last week, Reynald Pedros of France and Sarina Wiegman of the Netherlands.
The awards ceremony will take place in London on Sept. 24.
Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018