Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois, alongside Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, are the three nominees for the 2021-22 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.
The trio are joined by bosses Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola, plus Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, on the three-man shortlist for the UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year award.
Ahead of the Ballon d’Or nominations this week, France forward Benzema further confirmed his trailblazing status after firing Madrid to a continental double in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League last term.
But there is no place for any players from Liverpool, the side Ancelotti’s men beat in last season’s final in Paris.
Five Reds stars – Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Fabinho plus the outgoing Sadio Mane – made the 15-man longlist, but none made the final cut for possible nominations.
Other players included Robert Lewandowski and Luka Modric who finished fourth and fifth respectively, while Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe finished eighth, one place ahead of Madrid striker Vinicius Junior.
Benzema is being hailed for his outstanding efforts in helping Madrid return to glory under Ancelotti with 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions, while Courtois is recognized for his superb performances between the sticks.
De Bruyne, meanwhile, helped City and Guardiola to another Premier League crown, while Klopp guided Liverpool to two domestic trophies, plus second place in the league and a Champions League final.
The winners will be announced at the 2022-23 Champions League group stage draw ceremony in Istanbul on August 25.