Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo are on the 10-man shortlist for UEFA’s Best Player in Europe Award – with Wigan Athletic’s Will Grigg astonishingly being voted into the top 25.
The award is voted for by journalists from across Europe, who list their five best players of the 2015-16 season before the votes are pulled together by the governing body.
UEFA announced the 10-man shortlist on Monday morning, with Ronaldo the clear favourite to claim the award after winning Euro 2016 with Portugal and the Champions League with Real Madrid.
Bernabeu team-mate Bale is also in contention after helping Wales to the semi-finals of the Euros – with stern competition being supplied by Antoine Griezmann after he top scored in France with six goals.
- Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
- Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
- Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid & France)
- Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
- Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
- Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich & Germany)
- Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich & Germany)
- Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
- Luis Suarez (Barcelona & Uruguay)
Rather amazingly, Wigan striker Grigg earned votes from Europe’s journalists despite playing in League One and not appearing for a single minute of Northern Ireland’s Euros campaign.
However, he was the viral star of the tournament as the ‘Will Grigg’s on fire’ chant was picked up by supporters from all over Europe, becoming an unofficial anthem of the competition.
Grigg was one of 27 players who earned votes from journalists; he didn’t get enough to make the final shortlist, but he did get more votes than Kevin de Bruyne andPierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and the same number as Paul Pogba.
The award was introduced in 2011 after FIFA incorporated France Football’s Ballon d’Or award with its own World Player of the Year award.
Lionel Messi won the first UEFA award in 2011 and also collected the trophy last year. The other winners are Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Ronaldo (2014).
Here’s the list of players who garnered votes but missed out on the shortlist:
- 11 Riyad Mahrez (Leicester & Algeria)
- 12 Jamie Vardy (Leicester & England)
- 13 Dimitri Payet (West Ham & France)
- 14 Jérôme Boateng (Bayern Munich & Germany)
- 15 Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich & Chile)
- 16 Luka Modrić (Real Madrid & Croatia)
- 17 N’Golo Kanté (Leicester & France)
- 18 Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United & Sweden)
- 19= Eden Hazard (Chelsea & Belgium)
- 19= Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
- 19= Neymar (Barcelona & Brazil)
- 19= Renato Sanches (Benfica/Bayern Munich & Portugal)
- 23 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich & Poland)
- 24 Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli & Argentina)
- 25= Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus & Italy)
- 25= Diego Godin (Atlético Madrid & Uruguay)
- 25= Will Grigg (Wigan & Northern Ireland)
- 25= Hugo Lloris (Tottenham & France)
- 25= Paul Pogba (Juventus & France)
- 30= Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham & Belgium)
- 30= Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund & Gabon)
- 30= Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City & Belgium)
- 30= Kevin Gameiro (Sevilla & France)
- 30= Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla/Paris Saint-Germain & Poland)
- 30= Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain & France)
- 30= Georges-Kévin N’Koudou (Marseille & France)
- 30= Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid & Slovenia)
Originally Published on Eurosport
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