UEFA announces shortlist for Best Player in Europe award - Messi not included

UEFA have revealed the three footballers who have been nominated for the award of Best Player in Europe.

Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben and Cristiano Ronaldo are the three world-class players that make up the shortlist for the accolade of 'Best Player in Europe'.

The surprise exclusion is Argentine Lionel Messi, who does not make the final three nominees for the first time in the award's short history.

The UEFA Best Player in Europe Award was devised in 2011 as a replacement for the European Footballer of the Year Award, which merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2010 to create the prestigious FIFA Ballon d'Or.

It recognises the best footballer playing for any club across Europe in all footballing competitions.

The current holder is Bayern Munich's Frank Ribery, before him in 2012 it was won by Barcelona's Andres Iniesta and in 2011 by Messi.

It is the first time a goalkeeper has made it in the final shortlisted three. Nevertheless it is fully deserved; Neuer has been phenomenal not just for Bayern Munch during the past season, but also in helping the German national team win their first World Cup since 1990.

In the 55 appearances that Neuer made for club and country this past season he has kept 26 clean sheets and only conceded 42 goals. His recent honours include the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokkal, FIFA Club World Cup and FIFA World Cup.

His Bayen Munich team-mate Robben has also been in phenomenal form winning the same trophies minus the World Cup. Robben has made 45 appearances in the 2013/14 season, and has scored 27 goals and provided 18 assists.

Finally we have Ronaldo, who is likely to be favourite to win the award. Surprisingly the Portuguese superstar has never won the award before, so if he wins this time he can add it to his huge stockpile of individual accolades.

Ronaldo has made 60 appearances for club and country in the past year and has played absolutely out of this world. His goal record is unbelievable; 65 goals in 60 games! And then there are the 15 assists to add to that. His honours this season include the Champions League and Copa del Rey for Real Madrid, and he is the current holder of the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

All three would be worthy winners, but surely Ronaldo will come out on top, won't he?

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