Chelsea duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho as well as Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne are in the running for UEFA’s 2020-21 male Player of the Year award after topping an all-midfield shortlist published on Thursday.
All featured in Euro 2020 — De Bruyne for Belgium, Kante with France and Jorginho with winners Italy — and the shortlist is the first in the 11-year existence of the award to feature only midfielders.
UEFA did not reveal the number of votes cast for the three. Lionel Messi, who made a sensational transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, was fourth on the list.
Last year’s winner Robert Lewandowski came in fifth with PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma and Kylian Mbappe sixth and seventh respectively.
The top player from Euro 2020 finalists England was City’s Raheem Sterling in eighth. Portugal and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo was ninth and Norway and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland was10th.
The votes were cast by coaches of the 24 national teams that featured at Euro 2020 as well as 80 coaches of clubs that played in the group stages of UEFA’s competitions and journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.
The winner will be named on Aug. 26, along with UEFA’s women’s Player of the Year and Champions League positional award winners, at the Champions League group stage draw in Istanbul.
The women’s shortlist is comprised of three Barcelona players — Jennifer Hermoso and Lieke Martens along with Alexia Putellas.
The shortlist for men’s Coach of the Year featured Champions league finalists Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel along with Italy’s Euro 2020-winning coach Roberto Mancini.
The women’s team Coach of the Year has two men in the running with Barcelona’s former coach Lluis Cortes and Sweden’s Peter Gerhardsson up against Chelsea’s Emma Hayes.