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La Liga players dominate UEFA’s Best Player in Europe shortlist

UEFA

BERLIN: La Liga players dominate this year’s Best Player in Europe shortlist, announced by the continent’s governing body UEFA on Monday, with seven of the top 10 contenders for the prestigious award currently plying their trade in Spain.

European champions Real Madrid are represented by four players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, while last year’s winner Lionel Messi and Barcelona team mate Luis Suarez, along with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, are on the list.

Italy’s veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will be joined by Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich on the list, which features no players from the English Premier League.

The list will be cut to three at the start of August, with UEFA’s jury to decide on the eventual winner during the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on August 25.

Northern Ireland’s Will Grigg, who shot to internet stardom after a Wigan Athletic fan paid homage to the striker with a parody version of the 90s dance hit ‘Freed From Desire’ by Gala, was a surprise inclusion.

The 25-year-old, who finished 25th, received the same number of votes as Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba and more votes than last season’s Bundesliga top scorer Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.

The shortlist:

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)

Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid & France)

Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)

Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)

Thomas Muller (Bayern München & Germany)

Manuel Neuer (Bayern München & Germany)

Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)

Luis Suarez (Barcelona & Uruguay)

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