Lionel Messi has been excluded from the list of the three finalists of the world football governing body’s prestigious annual prize, FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award.
Antoine Griezmann doesn’t make the cut either, despite being the star of a French side that won the World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Salah are the three finalists. They top a shortlist of 10, which did include Messi, along with De Bruyne, Varane, Griezmann, Hazard, Kane and Mbappe.
It’s the first time in 12 years that the Argentinian hasn’t made the podium.
Messi’s absence from the top three of The Best comes as surprise to some persons, however others are not surprised due to Argentina’s performance at the 2018 Russia World Cup, but Ronaldo’s team, Portugal also failed to make it beyond the last 16.
When the award was called ‘FIFA World Player,’ he was second in 2007 and 2008 and the winner in 2009.
Messi has finished second in the two editions of The Best to date, always behind Cristiano. Neymar was third in 2016 and Griezmann in 2017.
The winner will be named on September 24 at a gala in London. The prizes are voted for by players, coaches journalists and fans through the Internet.