Lionel Messi has failed to make the world player of the year shortlist for the first time since 2006, with Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah making their first appearances in the final three alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi and Ronaldo have been the only winners of the main individual award from FIFA since 2008.
The award, created in 2016 following FIFA’s split with the Ballon d’Or, will this year honour the standout player from July 3, 2017 to July 15, 2018 and in that period.
Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid, while also helping Croatia reach the World Cup final where his performances earned him the Golden Ball.
Ronaldo, who has won this honour in both years of its existence is once again among the final three, but faces arguably his toughest challenge yet, following so many impressive performances in Russia.
However, the Juventus forward will still be confident of making it three in a row, as he once again finished top scorer in the Champions League. His 15 goals — five more than anyone else helped Madrid win the trophy for a third successive season.
And, while he would have expected to make a bigger impact in Russia, he still hit a hat trick against Spain, which included one of the goals of the tournament with a stunning late free kick.
Mohamed Salah’s impact on the world stage may have been minor, but his exploits in the Premier League and Champions League for Liverpool made him a certainty for this list.
He became the first player to score 32 goals in a 38-game season, while also contributing a further 10 in Europe while he won all the individual awards in England.
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 Denmark’s Kasper Schmeichel.
Former Real Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane, France coach, Didier Deschamps and Croatia’s Zlatko Dalic were on the shortlist for coach of the year award.
The women’s player of the year award will be contested between Lyon duo Ada Hegerberg and Dzsenifer Marozsan, who enjoyed an unbeaten league season and lifted the Women’s Champions League and Marta, Brazil’s triumphant Copa America Femenina captain.
Paris Saint-Germain forward, Kylian Mbappe is still in contention to become the first double Golden Boy winner as the list for the award was cut from 80 to 60.
The Golden Boy award has been handed out annually since 2003, when Rafael van der Vaart claimed the inaugural prize. Winners since have included Messi, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba and Isco. Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling are the only Englishmen to receive the gong.
Mbappe won the award in 2017 and is a strong contender to retain it following a season which culminated in him being named the World Cup’s best young player after helping France win the tournament. The awards ceremony will take place in London on Sept. 24, 2018.
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