European football’s governing body, the UEFA, has announced the names of its nominees for the Men’s Player of the Year award. The top three names include two Real Madrid stars- French forward Karim Benzema and Belgian goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois. The third name on the list is that of another Belgian, Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City.

Robert Lewandowski, Luka Modric, and Sadio Mane have finished fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively, with Mohamed Salah coming in at seventh despite being the star forward of Liverpool, who were the Champions League runners-up last season.

Reasons behind selection

Benzema’s form was near-impeccable in the Champions League, with the French forward bagging 15 goals in the tournament last season. In many clutch moments, eventual winners Real Madrid saw their no. 9 stepping up. Benzema was also the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League Player of the Season.

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Courtois made some crucial saves during Los Blancos’ Champions League run last season, including denying Mane and Salah on several occasions in the final. He was also named the final’s Player of the Match.

De Bruyne is the backbone of Manchester City’s midfield and attack, and once again shone through with his performances last season. City managed another Premier League win in 2021/22, with the Belgian skipper adding a fourth domestic title to his name in his seven years with the club.

How are the names selected?

The list of 15 nominees for the Men’s Player of the Year award is made by the governing body’s technical study group. The top three among them are selected by clubs who played in the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Europa Conference League group stages, along with a body of journalists selected by the European Sports Media.

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Each jury member gets to pick their top three choices, with the first choice being awarded five points, the second choice bagging three points, and the third one getting a single point.

Coach of the Year Nominees

Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid), Pep Guardiola (Manchester City), and Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool) have been selected as the nominees for UEFA’s Men’s Coach of the Year.