De Bruyne, Lewandowski and Neuer faced the chance to win the UEFA Best Player award, when Messi and Ronaldo were absent for the first time in 10 years.
The absence of Ronaldo and Messi did not surprise many people. Although they won the Serie A championship with Juventus, Ronaldo and his teammates unexpectedly lost to Lyon in the round of 1/8 Champions League 2019-2020, while Messi and Barca lost to Bayern 2-8 in the quarterfinals. Ronaldo and Messi have only scored three goals after eight games in this tournament.
The achievements of these two superstars are far behind Lewandowski – the top scorer of the tournament with 15 goals. The Bayern striker is the number one candidate for the award. His potential rival is De Bruyne. However, the Belgian midfielder joined Man City only in the quarterfinals of the Champions League last season and was eliminated by Lyon.
Lewandowski’s teammate Manuel Neuer played brilliantly and kept a clean sheet in the semi-final against Lyon and the final against PSG. This is the second time Neuer has reached the top three players nominated for the award, after 2014.
The UEFA Best Player award was first awarded in the 2010-2011 season, until now its 10th year. Last year, Liverpool midfielder Virgil van Dijk overcame Messi and Ronaldo to win the award. But this year, Van Dijk is not on the list because Liverpool were eliminated by Atletico in the eighth round of the Champions League.
Ronaldo holds the record of winning the award three times – in 2014, 2016, and 2017 – with nine nominations. Messi won twice in 2011 and 2015 and was nominated six times.
UEFA also announced the top 3 nominations for the best men’s football coach of the year, Jurgen Klopp, Hansi Flick and Julian Nagelsmann. Klopp helped Liverpool win the Premier League for the first time in 30 years. Flick won the Champions League with Bayern and Nagelsmann is the youngest coach in history to bring a team to the semi-finals of this tournament while leading RB Leipzig. In particular, all three are German.
Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder and Wendie Renard are nominated for the Best Female Player of the Year award. Meanwhile, Lluis Cortes, Stephan Lurch and Jean-Luc Vasseur will compete for best women’s football coach of the year.