The UEFA Men's Player of the Year (POTY) is an annual award given to a Europe-based player based on his performances for both club and country during a season. The Chelsea duo of Jorginho and N'Golo Kante and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne have been shortlisted for this year's award.
The final shortlist of the three players for this year's award was chosen based on votes received from a jury comprising all 24 national coaches of the teams that participated at Euro 2020, coaches of all 80 teams that featured in the 2020-21 Champions League and Europa League, and one selected journalist from each of UEFA's 55 national associations.
No coach was allowed to chose a player from his team; the player selected first by each member of the jury got five points, the second three, and the third one. Based on the cumulative point totals, the final three players get chosen.
Notable absentees in the top three this year are Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished fourth, fifth and ninth, respectively in the standings.
On that note, here's a look at the three shortlisted players for this year's UEFA Men's POTY award and their chances of winning the same.
#3 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium)
Manchester City's midfield metronome Kevin De Bruyne had another spectacular individual season in 2020-21 despite missing a few games for club and country due to injury.
The 30-year-old played only 25 league games as City won their third Premier League title in four years. De Bruyne contributed six goals and 12 assists, starting and ending his campaign with a goal and an assist.
He fared better in the Champions League, scoring all three of his goals in the knockout stages and also dishing out four assists. But with De Bruyne drawing a blank in the final against Chelsea, City finished second-best in their maiden trip to the competition's title match.
De Bruyne, who also won the League Cup during the campaign, fared well for Belgium at Euro 2020, scoring once and assisting twice before the Red Devils were eliminated by eventual champions Italy in the quarter-finals.
#2 N'Golo Kante (Chelsea/France)
N'Golo Kante has evolved into one of the finest defensive midfielders in the game since arriving at Chelsea in the summer of 2016 as a Premier League winner with Leicester City.
Since then, the Frenchman has won another Premier League title and has also triumphed once each in the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup. Last season, Kante played nearly 50 games in all competitions, including all 13 in the Blues' victorious Champions League campaign. He particularly excelled in the final against Manchester City, especially in the defensive side of his game, helping Chelsea win the competition for the first time in nine years.
The 30-year-old also featured for France at Euro 2020, playing every minute of Les Bleus' campaign at the tournament, which ended against Switzerland in a quarter-final penalty shootout.
That could go against Kante in winning the UEFA Men's POTY award this year, as the reigning world champions were expected to go all the way in the tournament.
#1 Jorginho (Chelsea/Italy)
Jorginho has had a memorable season for club and country. Arriving at Chelsea in the summer of 2018, he has been a key player at the club, making almost 150 appearances in all competitions.
The 29-year-old, who operates both as a defensive midfielderlike his clubmate Kante as well as a regista, doesn't produce too many goal contributions. But he has clutch from the spot, scoring nine of his 12 penalties in all competitions, including seven in the Premier League last season.
After playing a stellar role in his Chelsea's first Champions League triumph in nearly a decade, Jorginho also excelled at Euro 2020 for Italy, breaking up opponents' plays and kickstarting attacks from the back.
And to top that off, Jorginho, who did not produce a goal contribution during the tournament, scored the winning penalty against Spain in the semi-finals. Although he failed to do so in the final against England, Jorginho joined Emerson as the only players to win the Champions League and the European Championship in the same year.
In fact, considering Jorginho's exploits with club and country this year, he has also been touted to win the Ballon d'Or award, which is usually won by more forward players.