This week, the competitors to the awards for the best in European football in the 19/20 season were shortlisted. The highlights were the absences of Neymar, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
LEWA, NEUER AND DE BRUYNE DISPUTE THE AWARD
This week, UEFA announced the candidates for the best player in European football last season. On October 1st, the winners will be announced, in an event that will both award male and female football athletes and coaches.
Winner of the Champions League, and a machine in the Bundesliga, it was certain that Bayern would have players representing the club. Amongst the three men finalists, striker Lewandowski and goalkeeper Neuer are those who belong to the German club. Manchester City’s midfielder Kevin de Bruyne completes the list.
Robert Lewandowski is considered the favorite to take the award, due to an excellent season. The Polish striker was the top goalscorer in the German league, with 34 goals in 31 games played. In addition, he was also the top goalscorer of the German Cup, with 6 goals in 5 matches.
In the Champions League, Lewa was the top goalscorer with 15 goals in 10 matches, leading Bayern to the biggest title of European football.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was also important, made great saves in the final phase of the Champions League, but was also very well supported by the great defensive system that the German team has, and certainly takes less credit for these achievements.
The Belgian, Kevin de Bruyne, from Manchester City, runs on the outside to try to win this award. The midfielder was elected the best player of the season in England. However, De Bruyne was knocked out, together with City, early in the Champions League, and we all know that for Europeans this has a big weight in the voting.
NEYMAR OUT OF THE SHORTLIST – END OF THE YEAR PREVIEW?
The Paris Saint-Germain attacker stayed in fourth place in the voting that would compose the final contenders to the prize. This way, Neymar did not deserved a place, in the opinion of the voters.
The Brazilian reached the final of the Champions League, and for many, duels directly with Robert Lewandowski, for the prize of best player in the world. Neymar got in fourth place, receiving 53 votes.
This feeds the debate (and even more the confidence of those who bet on Lewandowski) about the possibility of the award for best in the world already having an owner. Neymar was not amongst the best in Europe, did not win the title, and even suffered with the French league cancellation, not playing for a longer period, than the other candidates.
FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE AWARD HAS NO MESSI OR CR7
This is a different year, really. The best of Europe award, created in the 2011/2012 season, will not have Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time amongst the finalists.
Of the 9 times the award was given, 5 of them were awarded for this duo. Cristiano Ronaldo has 3 trophies, while Messi has 2. Luka Modric and Virgil van Dijk were the last winners.
Messi stayed in fourth place, receiving 53 votes. Although the Argentinian took Barcelona on his shoulders all season, the loss of the Spanish title, and the humiliation suffered against Bayern, certainly weighed on the choice.
Cristiano Ronaldo once again was the top goalscorer at his club, but let’s face it, he is far from all the brilliance he showed in his Real Madrid times. The Portuguese was also knocked out early in the Champions League.
WHO WILL BE THE BEST COACH?
This one, I confess, is a dispute that will be very balanced. The finalists amongst the men’s coaches are Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool), Hansi Flick (Bayern) and Julian Nagelsmann (RB Leipzig). I believe that the dispute will be between Klopp and Flick, both with winning seasons.
Jurgen Klopp was knocked out in the last 16 of the Champions League, but gave Liverpool a Premier League title that the club couldn’t win for 30 years.
Hansi Flick took over Bayern in the middle of the season, took an unstable team, and turned it into a machine. He won the Bundesliga with a huge unbeaten streak, and overcame all opponents in the Champions League.
If I had to bet, even with some balance, I would bet on Hansi Flick in this dispute because without him Bayern would not have won everything they accomplished.
CHECK OUT WOMEN’S FOOTBALL FINALISTS
Women’s football will also be represented at the awards ceremony. Among the athletes, the finalists are Lucy Bronze and Wendie Renard, both playing for Lyon, and Pernille Harder, a Wolfsburg player.
The coaches will also be awarded. Competing for the award are Lluís Cortés from Barcelona, Stephan Lerch from Wolfsburg, and Jean-Luc Vasseur from Lyon.
The ceremony will take place on October 1st, when the draw for the group stage of the 20/21 Champions League edition, will be held.