The prospect of a new season of football in the coming weeks will do little to make us forget the electrifying performances in the recently-concluded campaign. The next couple of months will see a juxtaposing review of those displays to determine the winners of an illustrious series of individual awards like the Ballon d'Or, FIFA Best and UEFA Best Men's Player of the Year.
On Wednesday, FIFA set the ball rolling by announcing their list of ten nominees for the FIFA The Best Men's Player award. Regulars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo made the cut with the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah, and Virgil van Dijk also joining them.
The award recognises the player who has outplayed all other players in Europe in the preceding year. The winner is often decided based on their performances in domestic, continental and international competitions throughout the season.
With the nominees now out in the open, we take a look at the top five contenders for the 2019 FIFA Best Men's Player award, picked from the shortlist after all competitions, for club and country, have come to an end.
#4 Eden Hazard for Chelsea (currently Real Madrid) and Belgium
Eden Hazard enjoyed a scintillating farewell campaign as he ended his seven-year association with Chelsea to complete a dream move to Real Madrid this summer.
The Belgium international was one of the major reasons why the Blues will be making a return to the Champions League, as he helped the team to the Europa League title and a third-place finish in the Premier League.
The 28-year-old tallied 21 goals and 17 assists in all competitions and was directly involved in more goals than any other player in the Premier League. The forward netted 16 goals and provided 15 assists in the English top-flight to take his overall goal contribution to a staggering 31.
The former Blues superstar remains one of the best players in the Belgian squad but failure to at least reach the UEFA Nations League semi-finals after a defeat to Switzerland will do little to boost his chances at winning the award this time around.