Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been left off the final shortlist for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award for first time in 10 years, with Kevin De Bruyne and Robert Lewandowski set to battle it out for the individual prize.
Ronaldo, who currently plies his trade in Italy with Juventus, has picked up the accolade on three occasions and also has a total of nine nominations to his name, while Barcelona superstar Messi has won it two times and made the final shortlist in six of the last 10 seasons.
Both men have stood out as the best players of their generation for well over a decade, but as they continue to advance into their thirties, an inevitable changing of the guard is beginning to take shape.
Juventus exited the Champions League at the last 16 last season after a surprise defeat to Lyon, while Barca were knocked out in humiliating fashion in the last eight by eventual winners Bayern.
Ronaldo only managed three goals in eight appearances and Messi recorded three strikes in the same number of matches, with Lewandowski ultimately finishing as the competition’s top scorer with 15 to his name.