UEFA neglect Lionel Messi for Best European Player award, Barcelona brand the decision as scandalous

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez before their friendly against Leicester City

Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez failed to make the top three finalists for the Best Player in Europe award, the UEFA jury announced on Friday. This is only the second time in the history of the award that a Barcelona player has not featured amongst the honours, instigating the club’s Vice President Jordi Mestre to call the jury’s announcement as ‘scandalous’.

UEFA has shortlisted Real Madrid stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann to fight out for the top individual honour.

Also Read: Barcelona star Luis Suarez delighted it's only friendly clash against Liverpool

Jordi Mestre expressed his bitter disappointment with the UEFA lamenting the decision to leave out Messi or Suarez. Suarez had a splendid season at Barcelona scoring 59 goals in all competitions, and helping the club win the La Liga.

Venting anger at the governing body’s decision, Mestre told TV3, “It doesn’t seem the right decision to me at all. I don’t know what criteria UEFA applied, with all respect to the chosen winners, but I disagree [with the choices]. That our players aren’t there, such as Suarez or Messi, is scandalous. The club are very disappointed and angry.”

Also Read: A tribute to Luis Suarez

The procedure for finalising the list of players for the award is as follows. Journalists from each of UEFA's 55 member associations create a pool of players, after each journalist nominates their five best players. Based on the most points obtained, 10 players advanced to a second vote which determines the final three.

The Best Player in Europe award winner will be voted for at the Champions League group stage draw on Aug. 25.

In terms of performance, it does seem contradictory that Suarez has been left out. Luis Suarez scored and assisted in 84 goals last season, topping the top five list way ahead of Real Madrid stars or Antoine Griezmann. Ronaldo has a number of 66, Messi has 64, Griezmann has 47 and Bale has scored and made 34 in total.

However, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale could have influenced the decision due to their Champions League win over Atletico Madrid, in which Antoine Griezmann failed to convert a penalty. Furthermore, Ronaldo, Bale and Griezmann succeeded as individuals in their national team’s Euro 2016 campaign, with the Portuguese even lifting the cup.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now