Ronaldo, Messi listed for Europe’s best

Barcelona duo of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have both been included in a ten-man shortlist for Europe’s best player for last season.

Portugal’s UEFA Euro 2016 winning captain Cristiano Ronaldo is also in the list alongside Real Madrid teammates Gareth Bale of Wales and Germany’s Toni Kroos.

Other contenders for the prestigious award are goalkeepers Gianluigi Buffon of Italy and Juventus and Germany and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.

Real Madrid defender Pepe is also included with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann and Bayen’s Thomas Muller completing the list.

Conspicuously missing however are Barcelona’s Brazilian attacker Neymar, Bayern Munich goalmachine Robert Lewandowski and highly rated Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.

Also, there are no Premier League players in the list Leicester and Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez and Foxes and England striker Jamie Vardy coming 11th and 12th respectively, while West Ham and France midfielder Dimitri Payet came 13th in the vote.

France Pogba came only 25th, same as little known Northern Ireland striker Will Grigg in Uefa’s search for Europe’s best player.

Journalists from 55 member associations voted for their five best-ranked players for last season.

Juventus’ Pogba and Wigan’s Grigg came 25th out of 37.

Grigg, 25, failed to make an appearance at Euro 2016 but gained notoriety after a song was adapted in his honour.

‘Will Grigg’s On Fire’ – a parody on Gala’s 1996 song Freed From Desire – was written by Wigan fan Sean Kennedy, after Grigg scored 25 goals in League One during the 2015-16 season.

The song went on to reach number six in the iTunes chart and was sung by fans throughout Euro 2016.

Pogba was part of the France team beaten in the final of the tournament by Portugal, and the 23-year-old has been linked with a £100m move to Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to clinch the award after helping Portugal to the Uefa Euro 2016 triumph and also winning the Uefa Champions League trophy with his club Real Madrid, a fact that fellow contender Griezmann acknowledges.

“No, it will come if it has to come. Am I still in with a chance of winning? Cristiano Ronaldo won the biggest competitions. I think that that’s it — it’s done,” Griezmann, 25, said when he was asked about his chances of winning the trophy.

The French attacker lost to Ronaldo in both finals but finished with the Golden Boot at Euro 2016 scoring six goals for the hosts.

Messi, the Ballon d’Or winner is also hoping to pick up his third award after claiming the inaugural prize in 2011. But his chances suffered a huge blow after Argentina lost the Copa Centenario final to Chile on penalties last month.

The list will be cut to three players in August, with a Uefa panel deciding the winner during the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on 25

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