Argentina forward Lionel Messi, Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk were nominated on Thursday for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.

The winner will be named – along with the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year and UEFA Champions League positional award winners – during the group stage draw in Monaco on 29 August. The UEFA Europa League Player of the Season will be announced the following day.

Barcelona star Messi, who won the 2018-19 La Liga crown with the Catalan side, was the top goalscorer in last season’s Champions League with 12 strikes, including 3 assists. In the domestic leagues, Messi scored 36 goals.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo won the top scorer’s trophy in the inaugural UEFA Nations League finals which Portugal won, besides helping Juventus win the Serie A title last season.

Ronaldo scored 6 goals and assisted 2 in the UEFA Champions League. In the domestic leagues, Ronaldo scored 21 goals and assisted 8.

Liverpool’s Van Dijk helped shore up his side’s defence as it finished a close second in the Premier League before winning the Champions League.

Van Dijk scored 2 goals and assisted 2 in the UEFA Champions League. In the domestic leagues, he scored 4 goals.

Real Madrid star Luka Modric of Croatia won the award last year.

The midfielder won after a jury made of 80 coaches from clubs taking part in the Champions League and the Europa League, as well as 55 journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group voted for him.

Apart from Messi, Ronaldo and van Dijk, the other seven players in the fray are:

  • Alisson Becker (Brazil/Liverpool) 57 points
  • Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool) 51 points
  • Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool) 49 points
  • Eden Hazard (Belgium/Real Madrid) 38 points
  • Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands/Juventus) 27 points
  • Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands/Barcelona) 27 points
  • Raheem Sterling (England/Manchester City) 12 points.

(With inputs from IANS)