Lionel Messi has been omitted from the shortlist for the FIFA Men’s Player Award for the very first time since the award was introduced (…in 2016).
Instead, the 2018 award will be contested by Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah, with Messi’s ‘off year’ (a mere domestic double coupled with being both the top goalscorer and assist provider in the whole of Europe) ruling him out of the running.
Ronaldo is already favourite to take the trinket due to his Champions League heroics, though UEFA did upset the apple cart slightly last week by crowning Modric as their Player of the Year.
Finalists: #TheBest FIFA Men’s Player Award 🏆
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) 3 September 2018
Obviously it stands to reason that both Modric and Salah are perfectly worthy of inclusion, but have we reached the point where Messi scoring 34 league goals and powering Barcelona to a 17-point league-winning gulf is not outstanding enough to top them both?
It’s like he is now being judged by ‘prime Messi’ standards rather than in relation to his mere mortal contemporaries, as he should be. Just seems a little incongruous that the best individual and team player in the world shouldn’t be included in the FIFA top three.
Oh well, we’re sure he’s not remotely phased. Ho hum.