UEFA have released their top three best players in Europe for the year 2016. The nominees are: Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Gareth Bale.
The winner of the prestigious award will be announced on the 25th of August, just before the beginning of the draw for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Lionel Messi, who won the award last year, was not included in the three-man shortlist, as he and his club did not experienced as much success as they did in the previous season.
Previous recipients of the award include Frank Ribery (2013), Andres Iniesta (2012), Lionel Messi (2015, 2011), and Cristiano Ronaldo (2014).
The original ten-man list for this 2016 award went as follows: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Pepe (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), and Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus).
Luis Suarez was ranked above his Barcelona teammate, Lionel Messi, with 29 points. Lionel Messi managed to accumulate 25 points.
The points are decided by UEFA’s 55 member associations according to how well the player performed in Europe.
Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the favorite to receive the award, as he performed brilliantly throughout the season. The Portuguese winger scored 51 goals for Real Madrid last season, and even took his club to UEFA Champions League glory.
Ronaldo also captained his national side to win the UEFA Euro 2016 trophy, although he was injured during the final of the competition. He did, however, help his nation tremendously in getting to the final.
Gareth Bale also took part in carrying Real Madrid to UEFA Champions League glory, but could not help his nation get past Ronaldo’s Portugal in the UEFA Euro 2016 semi-finals.
Antoine Griezmann performed brilliantly last season, but was outshined by Cristiano Ronaldo’s club and nation.
Griezmann guided his nation to the UEFA Euro 2016 final, but the Frenchman failed to score in the final, and eventually lost to Portugal in extra time. He also helped Atletico reach the UEFA Champions League final, where they faced defeat at the hands of Real Madrid.