Messi nominated for European Player of the Year. De Bruyne and Haaland complete the shortlist

Lionel Messi was one of the top three nominees for last season’s European Player of the Year award.

UEFA announced on Thursday that the captain of the Argentine World Cup-winning side, who left Europe to play for MLS team Inter Miami, will face Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne and Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, teammates at Manchester City.

Messi has won the UEFA trophy twice in his 12 years, both times Barcelona won the Champions League. City won the European Cup last season for the first time.

Pep Guardiola is the favorite for Best Manager, having won three titles with City: the Champions League, the Premier League and the FA Cup. Other nominees were Inter Milan’s Simone Inzaghi, who led his club to the Champions League final, and Luciano Spalletti, who led Napoli to Serie A title.

The winners will be announced as part of the Champions League draw on 31 March in Monaco.

According to UEFA, the shortlists for women’s football awards will be announced next week after the World Cup. England and Spain play the final on Sunday in Australia.

Kylian Mbappé, Messi’s former Paris Saint-Germain teammate, finished sixth in the coaches’ and journalists’ votes despite the French star finishing last year’s World Cup top scorer with eight goals, including three in the final against Argentina.

Above Mbappe were Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri, Manchester City midfielders. Rodri scored the goal that determined the Champions League final.

The only Inter player to receive votes was Marcelo Brozović, who finished in eighth place. The Croatian midfielder went to the league of Saudi Arabia.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, among others who moved to Saudi Arabia, did not receive votes from the UEFA committee, which included the coaches of clubs that played in the group stages of three European competitions.

Roberto De Zerbi finished fourth in the voting for the best manager, despite the fact that his Brighton did not play in European competition. Brighton will make their Europa League debut next month, finishing sixth in the Premier League.

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