Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Ronaldo on UEFA Best Player in Europe shortlist
Barcelona stars Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez are up against Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard and five Juventus players for UEFA's 2014-15 Best Player in Europe award.
European football's governing body announced the 10-man shortlist for the individual award on Wednesday. The three finalists will be named on Aug. 12, with the winner to be announced by a jury vote at the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Aug. 28.
The shortlist includes eight 2014-15 Champions League finalists, with journalists from each of UEFA's 54 member associations providing a list of their five top players.
Messi, Neymar and Suarez set a Spanish record for the most goals (122) in a season for any trio of teammates to help Barca on the way to a Treble last season.
Barca beat Juventus in the Champions League final, though the Bianconeri -- who themselves won a domestic double -- are represented on UEFA's shortlist by Gianluigi Buffon, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez (now at Boca Juniors) and Andrea Pirlo (now at New York City FC).
Chelsea star Hazard inspired Jose Mourinho's side to the Premier League title last term, winning the PFA Player of the year award in the process.
While Ronaldo failed to lift any silverware with Real Madrid as rivals Barca enjoyed a superb campaign, the Portugal captain still scored a career-best of 61 goals for Los Blancos.
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
Past winners include Messi (2011), Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Ronaldo (2014).
Despite finishing third in the 2015 Ballon d'Or, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer only managed to secure 12th spot in the UEFA voting.
Meanwhile, Real's most expensive ever signing Gareth Bale finished joint-19th with Lyon's Andre-Pierre Gignac after a frustrating campaign at the Bernabeu.
UEFA also announced the Best Women's Player of 2014-15 shortlist, including: Nadine Angerer; Ramona Bachmann; Veronica Boquete; Amandine Henry; Simone Laudehr; Eugenie Le Sommer; Wendie Renard; Dzsenifer Marozsan; Anja Mittag; Alexandra Popp; Celia Sasic; Caroline Seger.