Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi snubbed by UEFA in final nominees for Player of the Year

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the finest players of the modern era.

Even if one of them never existed, the achievements of the other would still go down in footballing folklore, so it's beggar belief that we've been able to witness them playing simultaneously.

However, all good things come to an end and even the mercurial achievements of both Ronaldo and Messi can't go on forever as they both creep deeper and deeper into their thirties.

UEFA POTY award

Don't get us wrong, the serial Ballon d'Or winners are still producing statistics to keep them in contention for the world's best player but the throne isn't necessarily exclusively theirs anymore.

And there has perhaps been no clearer indication of this fact than the 33-year-old and 35-year-old failing to make the final three nominations for the 2019/20 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award.

It's the first time that neither Messi or Ronaldo have been in contention for the prestigious trophy during the awards ceremony itself since 2010, seemingly marking the end of an era.

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Ronaldo and Messi miss out

UEFA revealed on Wednesday morning that Messi had narrowly missed out on a place by finishing joint-fourth with Neymar on 53 votes, while Ronaldo placed rock bottom in 10th.

The order of the best-of-the-rest players went as follows:

10. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) - 25 votes

9. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) - 26 votes

8. Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich) - 27 votes

7. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) - 39 votes

6. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) - 41 votes

=4. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain) - 53 votes

=4. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 53 votes

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Top three announced

So, who are the final three candidates? UEFA have chosen Robert Lewandowski, Kevin de Bruyne and Manuel Neuer as the triumvirate to compete for their top male prize this year.

European football's governing body credit Lewandowski for his 55-goal season, while De Bruyne was praised for 20 league assists and Neuer was lauded for six Champions League clean sheets.

The winner of the gong currently held by Virgil van Dijk will be announced during the Champions League group stag draw in Nyon on October 1.

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GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

Do you know something? Credit to UEFA because I think they've got this absolutely spot on.

I don't really need to touch on Lewandowski being nominated because, well, it's something of a no-brainer and he'll surely take home the prize as a consolation for the Ballon d'Or being cancelled.

De Bruyne also makes sense having been the Premier League's best player last season and City's collapse in the Champions League came in spite of his heroic performances on the continent.

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And credit to UEFA for doing what so many major prizes fail to do by way of tipping their hat to a goalkeeper because Neuer was simply inspired on the way to Bayern's treble.

In this writer's humble opinion, Neuer must be considered the world's best goalkeeper again on current form and his performance in the Champions League final was simply epic.

So, sure, it feels like the end of an era with Messi and Ronaldo's absence from the top three but, frankly, they would have come up short to Lewandowski either way.

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