Lionel Messi failed to make the world player of the year shortlist Monday for the first time since 2006, with Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah making their first appearance in the final three alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi and Ronaldo have been the only winners of world soccer’s main individual award from FIFA since 2008.
Modric made the FIFA Best shortlist after helping Real Madrid to a third straight Champions League title in May and then leading Croatia to the World Cup final.
Ronaldo left Madrid after the Champions League final win over Liverpool to join Juventus. Salah was injured in the final but was recognized for his Premier League record 32 goals for Liverpool.
The women’s player shortlist is headed by five-time winner Marta of Brazil. The Orlando Pride player is up against Lyon teammates Ada Hegerberg of Norway and Dzsenifer Marozsan of Germany.
Deschamps fronts coaching nominees
Didier Deschamps, who led France to the World Cup title, was nominated alongside the coach he outwitted in the final: Zlatko Dalic of Croatia. Zinedine Zidane, who quit Real Madrid after a third straight Champions League title, completes the shortlist.
The three coaches in contention for the women’s game award are: Asako Takakura, who led Japan to the Asian Games title last week, Reynald Pedros of France and Sarina Wiegman of the Netherlands.
Ronaldo assumes control of Spanish club
Former Brazil great Ronaldo took over Monday as the majority stakeholder in recently promoted Spanish club Valladolid, saying he is bringing his soccer expertise to help the team succeed.
Ronaldo now owns 51 per cent of the shares of the club. He will preside over the board of directors while Carlos Suarez will remain club president, a job he held before Ronaldo’s arrival.
“I’m really excited,” Ronaldo said at Valladolid’s city hall. “My entire life has been about football and this is another great challenge for me, a very big one.”
Back in top division
The former Brazil striker said “transparency” and “competitiveness” will be part of the basis of his management.
Financial details were not immediately available, but local media said the operation was worth about 30 million euros ($35 million US).
Valladolid, which is based in a city of about 300,000 people, is playing in Spain’s top division for the 41st time in its 90-year history. It last played in the top league in 2013-14.
Suarez said the deal with Ronaldo will “put Valladolid on the map.”