By Chux Odoh
World football governing body FIFA has announced its top 3 finalists who will contend for the 2018 FIFA best player award.
In an announcement made on Monday, Portuguese captain and Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo, Croatia’s captain and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and lastly Egypt and Liverpool FC forward Mohamed Salah were named as finalists for the award.
Perhaps not surprising was the exclusion of Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who missed out on a place in the top three.
There was also no place for any member of France’s World Cup winning squad.
Lyon’s Champions League winning duo Ada Hegerberg of Norway and Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan are the finalists for Best Fifa Women’s Player, alongside Brazil forward Marta.
Ronaldo, 33, has 5 Ballon d’Or titles to his name and will be looking to earn his 6th overall and 3rd consecutive title. The 2016 and 2017 winner, won a fifth Champions League title with Real Madrid in May before joining Juventus for £99.2m.
A strong contender for the award this time is Real midfielder Luka Modric who was named the World Cup 2018’s player of the tournament as Croatia reached the final against France. Last week, Modric beat Ronaldo and Mo Salah to win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year.
Egyptian forward Salah scored 44 goals as Liverpool reached the Champions League final, losing to Real. He, however, failed to shine as expected at the FIFA world cup following a horrific shoulder injury which he suffered during the finals of the UEFA champions league finals against Real Madrid. He managed to score just one goal in the tournament as he missed most of the group game following his recovery.