Nyon (AP) – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are missing this year. The two superstars, who usually top individual awards in world football, did not make it to the top 3 in the election for Europe’s Footballer of the Year 2020.
Instead, the two three-time Munich winners Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski and Belgian Kevin De Bruyne from Manchester City are hoping for the freestyle to music next Thursday (from 5 p.m.) in Switzerland.
Messi (FC Barcelona), who was voted best of the continent three times, only took fourth place in the final accounts (together with Neymar / Paris Saint-Germain). Ronaldo (Juventus Turin), a four-time prize winner, only finished in tenth place. The last European election took place in 2006 without at least one of the two in the top 3. Last year, the Dutchman Virgil van Dijk from Liverpool won – ahead of Messi and Ronaldo.
Should Neuer receive an award, the national goalkeeper would be the first German pro since Matthias Sammer, who received the Ballon d’Or in 1996. The European Football Association has been organizing the award in its current form since 2011. In 2014, Neuer finished second behind Ronaldo and ahead of his then Bayern teammate Arjen Robben. Poland’s Lewandowski would be the first Bundesliga pro since Franck Ribéry, who was honored in 2013 after the first triple season in Munich.
This year, 80 coaches from the European Cup clubs and 55 journalists from the associations affiliated to UEFA were eligible to vote.
German winners since 1956:
1970 Gerd Müller (FC Bayern Munich)
1972 Franz Beckenbauer (FC Bayern Munich)
1976 Franz Beckenbauer (FC Bayern Munich)
1980 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (FC Bayern Munich)
1981 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (FC Bayern Munich)
1990 Lothar Matthäus (Inter Milan)
1996 Matthias Sammer (Borussia Dortmund)
Bundesliga award winners since 1956:
1977 Allan Simonsen (Denmark / Borussia Mönchengladbach)
1978 Kevin Keegan (England / Hamburger SV)
1979 Kevin Keegan (England / Hamburger SV)
2013 Franck Ribéry (France / FC Bayern Munich)