UEFA has revealed the shortlisted nominees for the 2018/19 Champions League season’s best performers at every position.
Five of Liverpool’s Champions League-winning quintet, including Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane, are all battling for their respective positional awards.
Barcelona new-boy Frenkie de Jong is also included in the trio of nominees for the Champions League Midfielder of the Season. The 22-year old had a breakthrough season at Ajax as he helped the Dutch giants to their first Champions League semi-final since 1997.
De Jong’s former Ajax teammate and Juventus’ headline signing of the summer Matthijs de Ligt also makes the cut after his stellar season in the Eredivisie and in Europe. He competes with van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold in the best defender category.
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi headlines the forward category after his unmatched 12 goals in the competition last season. The Argentine’s nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo also features on the list, however, the Portuguese’s inclusion has left many fans in anguish after the Italian giants were knocked out of the quarter-final stage last season.
The UEFA Nations League winner scored only six goals in the competition last season, less than Ajax front-man Dusan Tadic who netted nine.
Apart from Messi and de Jong, Barcelona shot-stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen also finds himself in the Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season category.
Owing to Tottenham Hotspur’s exploits in Europe last season, club captain Hugo Lloris and star-midfielder Christian Eriksen have also been selected in their respective categories for their immense contributions.
Liverpool’s dominance in the nominees is not surprising given their incredible 2018/19 campaign. The Reds were crowned Kings of Europe in June after they defeated Premier League rivals Spurs 2-0 in the final in Madrid.
The winners of the respective categories will be announced at the UEFA Champions League 2019/20 group-stage draw on August 29. The new European season kicks off in September.