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Ronaldo and Messi leading contenders for Uefa award, Will Grigg voted in top 25

Gareth Bale, Manuel Neuer and Luis Suarez also made the 10-man shortlist.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

CRISTIANO RONALDO AND Lionel Messi will go head to head once again after being nominated on the 10-man shortlist for Uefa’s Best Player in Europe Award for 2015-16.

Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann also made the top 10 — voted for by journalists from each of Uefa’s 55 member associations.

The shortlist will be cut to a final three on 5 August with the winner announced on 25 August, the day of the draw for the Champions League group stage.

Ronaldo is the undoubted favourite after another stellar year, culminating in Champions League and European Championship success with Real Madrid and Portugal respectively.

He scored 35 goals in 36 games as Madrid finished second behind Barca in La Liga, a further 16 in 12 appearances in the Champions League and three in seven games in captaining Portugal to their first major international honour in France.

Messi’s figures are just as impressive although he could not replicate Ronaldo’s summer achievement as Argentina missed out on the Copa America after losing the final to Chile on a penalty shoot-out.

The 29-year-old did, however, score 26 goals in 33 games as Barca won La Liga, and six more in seven Champions League games.

Northern Ireland striker Will Grigg. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Gianluigi Buffon, Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer and Pepe complete the top 10 with Leicester’s title-winning pair Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy 11th and 12th respectively.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic came 18th with Neymar a place lower alongside club-mate Andres Iniesta, Eden Hazard and Renato Sanches.

Paul Pogba, who could become the first £100 million (€120 million) player this summer should he leave Juventus, was 25th after receiving the same number of votes as Will Grigg.

Northern Ireland international Grigg, more famous for a song that echoed around stadiums at Euro 2016, did have a fine season with Wigan Athletic, though, scoring 28 goals in 43 as the Latics secured promotion to the Championship.

The nominees, in alphabetical order, are:

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid & France)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich & Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich & Germany)
Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Luis Suarez (Barcelona & Uruguay)

In total, 37 players picked up votes in the initial poll; those not in the final shortlist are revealed below in order of how they finished:

11. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester & Algeria)
12. Jamie Vardy (Leicester & England)
13. Dimitri Payet (West Ham & France)
14. Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich & Germany)
15. Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich & Chile)
16. Luka Modric (Real Madrid & Croatia)
17. N’Golo Kanté (Leicester & France)
18. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United & Sweden)
19.= Eden Hazard (Chelsea & Belgium)
19.= Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
19.= Neymar (Barcelona & Brazil)
19.= Renato Sanches (Benfica/Bayern Munich & Portugal)
23. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich & Poland)
24. Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli & Argentina)
25.= Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus & Italy)
25.= Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid & Uruguay)
25.= Will Grigg (Wigan & Northern Ireland)
25.= Hugo Lloris (Tottenham & France)
25.= Paul Pogba (Juventus & France)
30.= Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham & Belgium)
30.= Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund & Gabon)
30.= Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City & Belgium)
30.= Kevin Gameiro (Sevilla & France)
30.= Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla/Paris Saint-Germain & Poland)
30.= Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain & France)
30.= Georges-Kevin N’Koudou (Marseille & France)
30.= Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid & Slovenia)

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