Out of the 12 men shortlist, most of them are from PSG and Bayern Munich, the finalists of the season. Surprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have not made it to the list.
Nominations for Goalkeeper
Keylor Navas (PSG)
Navas had a brilliant season following his switch from Real Madrid last summer. In his first season in France, the Costa Rican helped the Parisians nearly win the continental treble before losing in the UCL finals against Bayern Munich.
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
The German shot-stopper has the biggest chance to wrap up the award due to his spectacular season with Bayern Munich. Neuer put up an impressive display in both the semi-finals and finals in UCL, which was highly helpful for Bavarians lifting the title.
Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
While considering Atletico Madrid didn’t go past the quarter-finals, it is still not surprising that Jan Oblak is among the best goalkeepers list. Oblak’s exploits against Liverpool in the round of 16 – one of the best displays in the competition – are enough to make him a contender for the award.
Nominations for Defender
David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
The Austrian defender enjoyed a fantastic season in both Bundesliga and UCL despite switch his position from left-back to central defender. Hansi Flick made full use of Alaba’s qualities to flourish in the defence.
Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
A revelation for the German Champions as the 20-year-old Canadian etched his name as one of the best full-backs at present. Davies produced some jaw-dropping performances throughout the Champions League and his best was against Barcelona.
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Another Bayern player in the list and it’s no surprise. The only surprise is that Kimmich has not been nominated for the best utility player, a category that does not exist. Kimmich excelled both as a defensive midfielder and a full-back, getting nominated for the latter.
Nominations for Midfielders
Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich, currently Liverpool)
Although Thiago is now officially a Liverpool player, his displays were pivotal behind Bayern’s treble last season. The Spaniard’s best performance came in the finals against PSG, where he bossed the midfield like no other.
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
Manchester City might have fallen short in the UCL for another time, but it didn’t keep Kevin de Bruyne from getting enough recognition. Having enjoyed one of his best seasons yet in the Premier League – breaking the assists tally for a single season, the Belgian was also at his best in the Champions League. His best performance was against Real Madrid in the round of 16.
Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
Thomas Muller revived himself under Hansi Flick, and the German’s performance against Barcelona was one of his best in recent times.
Nominations for Forwards
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
The Polish striker’s best season in his career yet, as he broke the scoring charts in all competitions including the Champions League. Arguably the best striker in Europe at the moment, Lewandowski is the real favourite to win the award.
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Kylian Mbappe was at his usual best for Les Parisiens this season, but it is another slip between the cup and the lip for the French World Cup winner in terms of UCL fate.
With both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi out of the competition, Neymar looked as though he was going to get the holy grail but ended up short. Nonetheless, his performances will not be taken for granted.
Sparring Messi and Ronaldo, Serge Gnabry failed to make it to the list despite some strong performances. Erling Haaland, who scored 10 goals in the competition for Borussia Dortmund and Salzburg altogether, would have been considered had he made it to the quarter-finals.