The 2020-2021 season is already behind us, but UEFA is yet to reveal who was the best player of the year. Shocking as it may sound, neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo are in the shortlist of candidates to win the 2020/21 UEFA Men's Player of the Year.
We wouldn't be lying if we describe Barcelona and Juventus' campaigns as disappointing to say the least. Instead, all the spotlight was on the aforementioned Premier League clubs, who reached the grand final that both Messi and Cristiano would have liked to play.
Three nominees to the 2020/21 UEFA Men's Player of the Year
The final three nominees to the award were voted by a jury composed of 24 coaches of the Euro 2020 national teams, 80 coaches of the teams that played in 2020/21 UCL and Europa League group stages, and 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media group, one from each of UEFA's member associations.
Chelsea midfield duo N'Golo Kante, who played a pivotal role in the Blues' road to success winning MOTM awards in both semi-final legs and the final, and Jorginho, who has not only been crucial under Thomas Tuchel but also helped Italy in their continental success, finished in the top three.
Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne is the other candidate, following a fantastic campaign in which Pep Guardiola's side was crowned in the Premier League and reached the UCL final for the first time.
2020/21 UEFA Men's Player of the Year: Cristiano and Messi out of the shortlist
They did finish in the top 10, but only the Argentine seemed close to being nominated, having earned 148 points. It would have made sense, as he shone despite Barca's problems on the field and then won the long-awaited Copa America with Argentina. But, to be fair, the three final candidates are deservedly in contention.
On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo has only received 16 points from the jury. Individually, he didn't have a bad season at all, amassing 36 goals in 44 games. But Juve were out of the UCL race early and had a sour finish to the Serie A season. Cristiano seemed to be as good as always, but unfortunately, he was overshadowed.