Cristiano Ronaldo has made the three-man shortlist for the 2016 Uefa’s Best Player in Europe award while his nemesis, Lionel Messi has been left out.
Ronalo, the odds-on favourite for a second best player in Europe gong, is joined on the podium by Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann after a second round of votes from UEFA’s 55 member countries.
All three Madrid-based players performed well at the recently concluded European Championship, with Ronaldo leading Portugal over hosts France in the final, Griezmann adding a golden boot to his runner-up medal by scoring six goals, and Bale inspiring Wales to the semifinals with three goals and a number of assists.
Ronaldo and Bale also powered Real Madrid to an unprecedented 11th Uefa Champions League trophy, beating city rivals Atletico and Griezmann in the final.
According to the second-round polls, Barcelona duo, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez narrowly missed the shortlist. With Messi coming fifth behind teammate Suarez who was top scorer in La Liga last season.
The jury will cast their votes for the winner during the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday 25 August.
Past editions have been won by Lionel Messi (2011, 2015), Andrés Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribéry (2013) and Ronaldo (2014).