Report: Why Cristiano Ronaldo Snubbed UEFA Awards during Champions League Draw

Cristiano Ronaldo UEFA Player of the Year snub
Cristiano Ronaldo did not attend the UEFA Player of the Year 2017/18 awards show

Three players were nominated for the UEFA Player of the Year award for the 2017/18 season - Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), and Mohamed Salah (Liverpool). However, only two of the nominees turned up in Monaco.

The Grimaldi Forum hosted both the Champions League group stage draw for the 2018/19 season and the various individual awards on Thursday. But the third seat in the front row was left vacant as Ronaldo proved to be a no-show.

Ronaldo cancelled trip after learning he wouldn't win Player of the Year

Now, ESPN has learned that the Portuguese forward was supposed to attend the ceremony but had decided to cancel his trip at the last minute.

Why? Because the verdict was leaked to him in advance. He was not going to be named UEFA's Player of the Year. Instead, the award went to Croatian midfielder and former teammate Luka Modric.

"We didn't tell, but you know how information leaks, It's possible that people know beforehand." - UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin

A private helicopter was on standby to bring Ronaldo and his family to Monaco for the awards that evening. As even his agent Jorge Mendes and Juventus CEO Beppe Marotta waited for his arrival, they soon learned that Ronaldo would not be attending the ceremony.

Many friends and people close to the 33-year-old Ballon d'Or winner reportedly tried to convince him to travel to Monaco but he chose not to.

UEFA Player of the Year Salah Modric no Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo was conspicuous by his absence at the ceremony

Ronaldo did win UEFA Forward of the Year in what was a Real Madrid clean sweep of individual awards (Keylor Navas, Sergio Ramos, and Modric won Best Goalkeeper, Defender, and Midfielder respectively).

But after finishing as the top goalscorer of the competition for the sixth consecutive season (15 goals) and seventh time in his career, missing out on the Player of the Year award was a bit too much for him to handle.

How UEFA Player of the Year is decided

Ronaldo believed he deserved the award for his performances in helping Real Madrid win an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League title - his fifth overall. However, the UEFA Player of the Year award takes into consideration international performances as well.

"The award recognises the best players, irrespective of nationality, playing for a club within the territory of a UEFA member association during the past season. Players are judged on their performances in all competitions – domestic, continental and international." - UEFA

80 different coaches from the 2017/18 Champions League and Europa League and 15 journalists from UEFA's member associations each chose three players with the first pick receiving 5 points, their second pick receiving 3 points, and the third pick receiving one.

Luka Modric UEFA Player of the Year 2017-18
Luka Modric won UEFA Player of the Year and Midfielder of the Year for 2017/18

Also, coaches could not pick a player from their own team. Once all the votes were tallied, this was the final list with Modric outscoring Ronaldo by 90 points. Apart from his Champions League success, the Croatian's World Cup campaign in Russia - where he led his country to the final and also picked up the Golden Ball for Best Player - clearly helped his cause.

1) Luka Modric: 313 points

2) Cristiano Ronaldo: 223 points

3) Mohamed Salah: 134 points

4) Antoine Griezmann: 72 points

5) Lionel Messi: 55 points.

Who said what after Ronaldo didn't win

Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes was very outspoken in his criticism of the final verdict.

"Football is played on the field and that's where Cristiano won. He scored 15 goals, carried Real Madrid on his back and conquered the Champions League again.
"It's ridiculous, shameful. The winner is not in doubt, as Ronaldo is the best in his position."

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri also explained that Ronaldo was angry that he did not win the awar.

"Cristiano is fine and he has trained well. On Thursday, he was angry because he won the Champions League and scored 15 goals. This shows that he always wants to be the best.
"It was a personal decision [not to attend the award ceremony in Monaco] and it must be respected."

Juventus chief Giuseppe Marotta also thought his new record signing deserved the award for his performances last season.

Allegri Ronaldo
Max Allegri believed Ronaldo deserved to win the award

It was Ronaldo's late goal that knocked the Serie A club out of the Champions League before he decided to leave Real and join the Turin giants this summer.

"I can say it was a personal decision not to come and he made it earlier today. We want to respect that.
"As far as we are concerned, we are profoundly disappointed that he did not receive the trophy. This is for performances in the Champions League and not the World Cup, so we maintain Ronaldo deserved it more.
"I take nothing away from the decision of the jury, but if I had voted, I would've voted for Ronaldo. I don't say that because he is our player, but as a lover of football."

Ronaldo is still one of the favourites to win The Best FIFA Men's Player award on 24 September but a premature exit at the World Cup may have ruined his chances.

Also read: FIFA Best Player 2018 - Ranking the 10 Nominees

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