Analysing Who Deserves the Player of the Year Award as UEFA Announce 3-Man Shortlist

UEFA have announced that Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modrić and Mohamed Salah received the most votes during the initial round of voting for the Player of the Year award this year, and all three will be in contention to win the coveted title.

It is unsurprisingly going to be a close call once again between the three contenders, but as only one can be crowned as the winner, here’s a run down of each candidate and why they should be in contention for the award.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo may have ditched life at Real Madrid this summer in favour of a move to Juventus, but it is the Portugal international’s performances in Spain last year which see him once again on the final shortlist.

The 33-year-old averaged a goal a game last season, scoring 44 goals in as many appearances. Ronaldo was also instrumental in the Champions League, finding the back of the net 15 times in 13 appearances as Los Blancos went on to lift a third consecutive title.

Ronaldo also took centre stage at the World Cup this summer, scoring a hat-trick against Spain to rescue a point and also notching one goal against Morocco before Portugal were knocked out by Uruguay.

Major Club Honours Last Season: UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup.

2. Luka Modrić

There is an argument to be made that Luka Modrić will go down as one of the most underrated footballers of this generation, but a place on the shortlist for the Player of the Year award could show that the Croatian is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

Similar to the aforementioned Ronaldo, the 32-year-old midfielder also made in excess of 40 appearances last season as Real Madrid went on to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy.

Most impressively, however, was Modrić’s performances at the World Cup. The tournament in Russia could prove to be Croatia’s current golden generation last major international appearance, and Zlatko Dalić’s side shocked fans across the globe by reaching the final.

Modrić was even awarded with the Golden Ball in recognition for his performances at the World Cup, a trophy last has previously been one by the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo Nazário and the late Johan Cruyff.

Major Club Honours Last Season: UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup.

1. Mohamed Salah

Last but certainly not least sees Liverpool’s Egyptian king Mohamed Salah round off the nominees for Player of the Year.

Not even the most optimistic of fans at Anfield could have predicted that Salah would have adapted to life back in the Premier League so well. The 26-year-old matched Cristiano Ronaldo’s 44 goal haul across all competitions, one of which came during qualifying for the Champions League, and was the catalyst for the Reds as they reached the final in Kyiv.

On top of that, Salah reached an incredible tally of 32 goals in the Premier League, something which was last matched by Alan Shearer back in the 1994/95 season.

Perhaps most significantly for Salah last season was his ability to single-handedly guide Egypt to the World Cup. Although the Pharaohs failed to claim a sinlge point in Russia, their 28-year wait for a spot in the biggest sporting event on the planet was ended thanks to the Liverpool forward.

Major Club Honours Last Season: N/A