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Messi’s streak of 11 years broken
- Updated: September 4, 2018
Argentina and Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi has failed to make it to the top three-man shortlist for the FIFA Player of the Year award for the first time since 2006. Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah have been shortlisted as the three finalists for the accolade.
Messi, 31, helped the Blaugrana clinch the La Liga title and a fourth consecutive Copa Del Rey title last season. On a personal note, he also won the European Golden Shoe and the Pichichi award with a tally of 34 goals. He notched 45 goals in 54 games in all competitions.
However, it's his unimpressive form in the Champions League and the World Cup that has been cited as the chief reason for his exclusion from the final shortlist. Messi failed to produce his magic in Europe as Barcelona fell prey to a stunning comeback from Italian outfit AS Roma in the second leg of the UCL quarterfinals.
Adding to his miseries, Leo Messi also had a lacklustre World Cup campaign in Russia. He missed a penalty against Iceland and scored only once in 4 games as Argentina were knocked out in the round of 16 by France.
His contemporaries, on the other hand, had fairly impressive campaigns. Cristiano Ronaldo, alongside Luka Modric helped Real Madrid win a third straight Champions League title, also topping the scoring charts of the competition. He also had a thrilling World Cup campaign, scoring 4 goals in 4 games, which included a hat-trick against Spain.
Luka Modric led Croatia to the World Cup finals, winning the World Cup Golden Ball in the process. He also won the UEFA Men's Best Player of the Year award, which makes him a favourite for the FIFA Player of the Year award.
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was consistently impressive in the Premier League. He won the Premier League Golden Boot and played a crucial part in The Kop's road to the UCL finals last season.
The award ceremony will take place in London on September 24.