Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale have been named among the shortlisted players for the coveted UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
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Ronaldo, the 2013-14 winner, is widely considered as favourite to win the award for a second time as he helped Real win their 11th Champions League title before guiding Portugal to their first-ever international trophy at Euro 2016. On the other hand, Real forward Bale steered Wales to the semi-finals of the European Championship in their first appearance at a major finals since 1958.
Portugal and Real Madrid defender Pepe has also been nominated for the prize alongside France and Atletico striker Antoine Griezmann, who earned the player of the tournament and the Golden Boot awards for his terrific performance at Euro 2016.
Two-time winner and title holder Lionel Messi once again made into the list along with Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez while Bayern Munich duo of Manuel Neuer and Thomas Mueller, Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and Real midfielder Toni Kroos were the other players who have been selected by journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.
Three finalists will be selected on August 5 before the UEFA announces the winner in Monaco on August 25 when the draw for the Champions League group stage will be made.