Lionel Messi made the three-man shortlist announced Thursday for the UEFA award as the best player in Europe last season.
The World Cup-winning captain from Argentina, who has left Europe to play for Inter Miami, is up against Manchester City teammates Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland. Messi won the UEFA award twice in its 12-year history, both in years when Barcelona was European champion. Man City won the Champions League title last season.
Lionel Messi scores his ninth goal in six matches
Lionel Messi scored his ninth goal in six matches as Inter Miami defeated Philadelphia in the Leagues Cup semifinals
Pep Guardiola is the favorite for the men’s coaching award after leading Man City to the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup titles. Also nominated were Simone Inzaghi of Inter Milan, who led his team to the Champions League final, and Luciano Spalletti, who led Napoli to the Italian league title.
The winners will be announced at the Champions League draw on Aug. 31 in Monaco.
The shortlists for the women’s player and coaching awards will be announced next week after the Women’s World Cup, UEFA said. England will face Spain on Sunday in the final in Australia.
Kylian Mbappé, Messi’s former teammate at Paris Saint-Germain, was sixth in the player voting by Europe-based coaches and journalists despite his tournament-leading eight goals at last year’s World Cup, including three in the final against Argentina.
Ranked above Mbappé were Man City midfielders İlkay Gündoğan and Rodri, whose goal decided the Champions League final.
The only Inter player getting votes was Marcelo Brozović in eighth place. The Croatia midfielder has since moved to the Saudi league.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, others who have moved to Saudi Arabia, got no votes from the UEFA panel, which included coaches from clubs that played in the group stages of the three European competitions.
Roberto De Zerbi was fourth in the coaching vote despite his Brighton team not playing in a European competition. Brighton will debut next month in the Europa League after finishing sixth in the Premier League.
Franck Haise, who led Lens to second place the French league, and David Moyes of Europa League Conference champion West Ham were among 10 coaches who got some votes.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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