UEFA Player of the Year: Why Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were snubbed

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were not nominated for the 2021 UEFA Player of the Year award for the second successive time.

The two rivals made it to the top 10 ranking but could not make it to the final three ranking which they have been dominating since 2010.

Since UEFA announced the final three players for the award, most football fans are surprised that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo did not make it to the final cut despite ending the 2020-2021 season as the top scorers of their leagues.

Recall that last season, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ended the season with at least a club trophy. Messi helped Barcelona to win Copa del Rey, while Ronaldo helped Juventus to win Coppa Italia.

When it comes to goals and assists, Lionel Messi scored 38 goals and provided 14 assists in 47 games for Barcelona last season. No player in the league was able to surpass his stats until the season ended.

On the other hand, Ronaldo scored 36 goals and provided 4 assists in 44 games in all competitions. No player was able to surpass his goals in Serie A last season.

Another player in the mode of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo last season was Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker scored a whopping 48 goals and provided 9 assists in 40 games for Bayern Munich last season. He also helped Bayern to win the Bundesliga.

Despite such astounding stats, UEFA voters did not consider Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the final three standing of the UEFA Player of the Year award. Even Lewandowski, the winner of the last edition was not considered.

Why Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were not nominated for the UEFA Player of the Year award 2021

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won the UEFA Player of the Year award five times since 2010. Ronaldo has won the award three times more than any player in the history of the award. While Messi has claimed the award two times.

They performed so well in their domestic leagues last season but that their performances in their domestic leagues were not enough to earn them a place in the final three.

Between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the player many thought would most likely make the top three list for the award was Messi because he didn’t only win a title with Barcelona, he helped Argentina to win Copa America for the first time in his career.

However, from all indications, though UEFA considers the performance of players in international, domestic, and club football, the football body gives priority to UEFA Champions League.

For instance, the last three nominees for the 2021 UEFA Player of the Year award – Chelsea duo Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, were finalists in last season UEFA Champions League campaign.

Recall that Manchester City faced Chelsea in the final of the competition and Chelsea emerged the winners of the tournament with a lone goal.

UEFA Player of the Year: Why Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were snubbed
N’Golo Kante was celebrated by his teammates after Chelsea won the 2021 UEFA Champions League.

Though the players that are nominated for the final stage of the award are not known for scoring goals, they are considered special to their teams due to the number of contributions they make in terms of tackles, assists, and passes.

Jorginho and N’Golo Kante mounted Chelsea’s midfield in most parts of last season’s UEFA Champions campaign.

Kante did so well that the French midfielder earned four Man of the Match award in four different games in last season’s UEFA Champions League campaign including in both legs of the semifinals stage and the final of the tournament.

As for Jorginho, the midfielder won the man of the match award once in the quarter-finals stage of the tournament. Jorginho added to his chances of winning the award after playing a major role in Italy’s Euro 2020 win.

On the other hand, Kevin De Bruyne won man of the match in two different games in the UEFA Champions League and led Manchester City to the final of the tournament. Aside from that, he helped Manchester City to win last season’s Premier League title.

While Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could not help their clubs beyond the round of 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League which is deemed not good enough by UEFA’s voters.

Who are UEFA’s voters for the UEFA Player of the Year award

Who are UEFA's voters for the UEFA Player of the Year award

UEFA set up a committee of voters also known as a jury to decide the last three players for the 2021 UEFA Player of the Year award.

The Jury is made of 24 coaches of the national teams that participated at Euro 2020, together with the 80 coaches of the clubs which played in the 2020-2021 group stages of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

More so, the European Sports Media selected 55 journalists from each of UEFA’s member associations to be a part of the jury.

All the members of the jury cast their votes for the players they thought performed the best last season. At the end of the day, Kante, Jorginho, and De Bruyne earned the highest number of votes.

Now that the jury has nominated the three players for the UEFA Player of the Year award, football fans across the world are left to keep their fingers cross until August 26, 2021, when the overall winner of the award would be announced. The winner would be announced in Istanbul, Turkey.

The top ten nominations for UEFA Player of the Year are: Kevin De Bruyne, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Kylian Mbappe, Raheem Sterling, Cristiano Ronaldo, Erling Haaland.

The last three for the men’s UEFA Player of the Year

  1. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
  2. Jorginho (Chelsea)
  3. N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea)

UEFA Women’s Player of the Year

  1. Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona)
  2. Lieke Martens (Barcelona)
  3. Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year

  1. Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
  2. Roberto Mancini (Italy)
  3. Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea)

UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year

  1. Lluis Cortés (Barcelona)
  2. Peter Gerhardsson (Sweden)
  3. Emma Hayes (Chelsea)

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