Mane battles Messi and Ronaldo for top Champions League striker gong

August 9 – UEFA has unveiled its shortlist of players for its 2018/19 Champions League positional awards, with five Liverpool players dominating the 12 names that are in contention for the best Goalkeeper, Defender, Midfielder and Forward awards.

The Forward category once again pits Lionel Messi against Cristiano Ronaldo, but in break from tradition Sadio Mane is the third striker making it to the final three rather than Mo Salah.

The selection jury comprised the coaches of the 32 clubs in the group stage of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League, together with 55 journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations. They were asked to pick three players in each category awarding five, three and one point to each of them. Coaches could not vote for players from their own teams.

The three players who received the most points overall in each positional category, in alphabetical order, are:

GOALKEEPERS: Alisson Becker (Brazil – Liverpool FC); Hugo Lloris (France – Tottenham Hotspur FC); Marc-André ter Stegen (Germany – FC Barcelona)

DEFENDERS: Trent Alexander-Arnold (England – Liverpool FC); Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands – AFC Ajax, now at Juventus Football Club); Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands – Liverpool FC)

MIDFIELDERS: Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands – AFC Ajax, now at FC Barcelona); Christian Eriksen (Denmark – Tottenham Hotspur FC); Jordan Henderson (England – Liverpool FC)

FORWARDS: Sadio Mané (Senegal – Liverpool FC); Lionel Messi (Argentina – FC Barcelona); Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal – Juventus Football Club)

The final awards will be presented during the 2019/20 Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on August 29.

UEFA has published the list of players voted for in each position here.

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