Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been shortlisted alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the men’s UEFA Player of the Year award.
Van Dijk helped Liverpool to their most successful Premier League season as they gained 97 points, one behind winners Manchester City, and were victorious in the Champions League, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final in Madrid.
The Netherlands international is the first defender on the three-man shortlist since the inception of the award in 2010/11, while Ronaldo has made it into the final three on all nine occasions.
Messi and Ronaldo have won the award twice and three times respectively.
UEFA has also released the shortlist for the women’s prize, with England’s Lucy Bronze on the list after her Champions League win with Lyon and a successful run to the World Cup semi-final, where she claimed the Silver Ball for being the second-best player at the tournament.
Bronze’s competitors for the award are both team-mates with her at Lyon – French midfielder AmandineHenry and Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg.
The men’s shortlist of three players is selected by a jury composed of 80 coaches of the clubs which participated in the group stages of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, together with 55 journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.